Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Bill to ban cell phones in school zones

Bill to ban cell phones in school zones

Posted: Apr 01, 2014 3:47 AM PDTUpdated: Apr 01, 2014 3:49 AM PDT

State Representative Jeff Thompson (Bossier City-R) is presenting a bill to the House Committee of Transportation, Highways and Public Works to ban cell phones in school zones.
The message to drivers is to put the cell phone down and pay attention to the road. This bill is designed to help keep kids safe while they are waiting at the bus stop or crossing the road.
Thompson said children at the bus stop may not be paying attention to the cars passing by. This is why drivers need to be the ones watching the roadway.
"What I didn't want to have to have is this law be named after a child who lost their life because someone wasn't paying attention," Thompson said.
If the bill passes, cell phones would be banned in all school zones. Thompson said it doesn't take much time to get through a school zone, so the phone calls can wait.
"There have been some concerns expressed by people about what if I'm parked, what if I'm a passenger in a car? This bill is limited to operating a vehicle through an active school crossing area when children are present," Thompson said.
"It's going to be an area where the lights are flashing, where distracted kids are crossing the roads that we really need drivers to pay particular attention."
Thompson said it was officers with the Bossier City Police Department (BPD) who brought this issue to his attention.
Sgt. Joel Frentress with BPD said distracted driving is the cause of the majority of crashes the department works.
It's a distraction whether it's texting or physically holding the phone while driving, Frentress said.
This bill also goes out to all the new drivers out there who may be on their way to school or leaving school. School zones tend to be high traffic areas in the morning and afternoons.
"I think that in school zones, the number one concern should be child safety and I think the phone calls can wait," Frentress said. "Texting definitely needs to be done off the roadway and anytime we can make it safer for children, that's what we're here for and here about."
Frentress said school zones aren't always in neighborhoods. Many school zones are on busy roadways with high traffic flow and that's when drivers should be the most alert.
"Distracted kids, not paying attention, excited to be going to school. That's a cocktail for danger," Thompson said.
Thompson said it's incumbent upon drivers to make sure they are paying attention.
The bill to ban cell phones in school zones is expected to go before the House Committee of Transportation, Highways and Public Works at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 1.
If it passes, it will go before the full House and then on to the Senate.

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