Sunday, August 30, 2009

Can you hear me? Can you hear me now? Then put down the phone!

The new law, HB 55, begins on September 1, 2009.

The signs should be up around then to notify you.

Consider yourself notified.

Put down the phone and save a life.

Cell phone use banned in school zones


The use of cell phones or other wireless devices is prohibited in all school zones in Texas beginning Tuesday. By that time, signs should be posted on all school zone markers indicating the new ban. Hands-free devices, such as earpieces or speaker phones, are exempted from the ban.

City and county officials, as well as the Texas Department of Transportation, are rushing to get the signs up as quickly as possible.

The new law, House Bill 55 from this year’s Texas Legislature, amends the transportation code to allow for the citation of drivers in school zones and school crossing zones, but only if the school zone has signs indicating the new law.

“In order for the law to be enforced the city (and TxDOT) have to post signs,” said New Braunfels Police Lt. Michael Penshorn. “It’s a citable offense. The purpose of the law is to keep kids safe in the school zones.”

Greg Malatek of TxDOT said everything should be in place by Tuesday, and if not at the latest by the end of the week.

“We sent out letters to the city and county to make sure they would enforce the law. And we’ve been putting (the signs) up. Our objective is to have them up that first week of September, and try to have it done by Sept. 1,” he said.

TxDOT is responsible for posting signs on state roads, cities and counties oversee the installation of signs on their respective roadways.

The law does not specify what the penalty for violating the ban would entail.