Friday, May 15, 2009

Texas House Votes to Ban Cell Phone Use in School Zones

Texas law, as well as statutes established by many local communities in our state, has placed certain restrictions on the types of activities that can occur within the perimeter of a determined school zone. Speed limits are greatly reduced, at least during the days on which school is in session. Anyone caught with drugs while on school property can expect a greatly heightened fine or increased jail time. Now, the House has tentatively approved another way in which behavior must be modified around our school children. This time, those indispensable cell phones are involved.

Yesterday, the Texas House voted for a ban on the use of cell phones by drivers in an active school zone. Exceptions would be made for hands-free devices, on-duty emergency services, and certain licensed radio operators. Emergencies experienced by private citizens while moving through a school zone also may be reason for forgiveness when a fine is issued.

The ban brings with it a maximum fine of $25 for a first offense and up to $50 for any subsequent offenses. It still requires a final vote in the House and then approval by the Senate before being submitted to Governor Rick Perry for his needed signature. Similar measures have already been approved in Texas cities such as El Paso as well as in towns across our country. With police officers regularly patrolling school zones looking for speeders or other threats to the safety of our children, the belief is that enforcing this new law would be easy to accomplish.

Whether or not this new law is put into place, we know that talking or texting with a cell phone while driving can be dangerous to others on the road. If you experience an injury due to a driver's distracted operation of his vehicle, the personal injury attorneys at Bertolino LLP can help. If you are in need of legal assistnace, please contact our Austin, Houston, or San Antonio office today.

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