Monday, February 18, 2008

Town of Flower Mound Approves Cell Phone Ban

I'm definitely guilty of using my cell phone in the car. I many times find myself asking if that email or phone call is more important than my family's or other driver's safety. Of course, the answer is no, the business can wait.

The Town of Flower Mound recently passed an ordinance banning the use of handheld cell phones in school zones, which is on the heels of another similar ruling in a North Texas city.

The decision will prohibit drivers from using handsets and sending text messages while in an active school zone. Hands-free devices are allowed.

"This has been a problem since the beginning," Dave Bell said. Only police officers who witness a violation can issue a citation, which can begin at $75 but increase to $200 for repeat offenders. But, crossing guards can write down the license plate number of an offender, and the police department will send the violator a warning in the mail.

The town will purchase warning signs and post them around Flower Mound as a reminder, beginning March 25.

The ordinance is patterned after a similar program in Highland Park, the first city in Texas to adopt such an ordinance. University Park followed suit soon after.

"I'm for it," said Spencer Webb, a student at Shadow Ridge Middle School, who attended the meeting with fellow Eagle Scouts. "I see the crossing guards, and sometimes they have a look of sheer terror because they're running out to stop a car so that we can cross."

Kyle Bell, Dave Bell's son, said he agrees with the ordinance but said it should go one step further.

"Even if you're using a Blue Tooth, your mind isn't on the road," said Kyle Bell, 11. "Your hands are free, but you're looking at the road absent-mindedly."

McCann Dahl, who attends McKamy Middle School, said he saw a problem with the ordinance.

"I agree with being safe," Dahl said. "But, when the crossing guard or the police look at a driver's license plate, they don't know why the person is on the phone. The person's mom might have just died."

Police Chief Kenneth Brooker said during his presentation to the council that crossing guards in Flower Mound have expressed support for the ordinance. While there have been no incidents involving someone getting hit as a result of a driver using a cell phone in a school zone, crossing guards have said the majority of violations have occurred by drivers using cell phones.

1 comment:

Just Us Gibsons said...

I foresee myself getting busted on this one! Like the time I got busted speeding through a school zone on my way to the school I taught at! The cop didn't think a teacher being late was a good enough excuse!