School districts get tough with cell phones

CUSHING, TX (KTRE) - A new Texas law is giving school districts the authority to crack-down on cell phones in school zones. All the rural Nacogdoches County schools want motorists who talk or text on a cell phone while entering a school zone to be cited.  The Nacogdoches County Commission passed a resolution showing its support for the voluntary measure.

"It makes sense to me that if we want to keep our kids as safe as we can we need to stay off the cell phone inside our school zone now," said Michael Davis, Cushing ISD superintendent. "What people think about it outside our school zone is their own business, but here at the school we want to do all we can do for our students."

A Cushing driving-safety program taught students that thousands of accidents occur due to distractions by cell phones. Their students and faculty were in some of those accidents. One reason why the school is wanting the law enforced.

Cell use in idenitified school zones is prohibited unless the vehicle is stopped or a hands-free wireless device is used. The only exception is emergency calls for emergency services. The offense is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $50.

The Texas Department of Transportation will be busy in the coming weeks installing signs at the entrances to school crossing zones. The voluntary law is effective September 1, but only in districts where the signs are in place.

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