Sherman implements ban on cell phone use in school zones

SHERMAN, TX- Sherman students will be headed back to class in less than a week. Police say they're trying to keep those kids safe by telling drivers to hang up their cell phones in school zones. Rita Kotey brings us the details.

Sherman High School student body president Jordan Hancock says she is ready for her senior year.

"I am kind of overwhelmed though because I have a lot to do but I'm excited, "Hancock said.

To help make school zones safer as Hancock and other students head back to their classrooms on the 24th, city leaders passed a cell phone ordinance in accordance with a new state law that restricts cell phone usage in school zones.

Beginning September 1st residents will no longer be able to use hand held phones in active school zones.

"I think it is good because I don't think people should be on the phone at all while they are driving," Hancock said.

"Cell phones have been responsible for a lot of accidents so much so that the state of Texas has listed that as a contributing factor on their accident forms," Dawsey said.

Sgt. Bruce Dawsey with the Sherman Police Department says drivers can use a Bluetooth or other hands free devices in school zones. And if they park their cars, it is legal to use their hand held phones. But it's not only talking on the phone that Dawsey says is dangerous-- it's also texting.

"They are not paying attention to what they are doing, they are talking on the phone and engaged in a conversation, and they have another hand up by their ear, obstructing their view, but their attention is not focused on what is going on in the school zone, and we don’t want anybody getting in a tragic accident from a child darting out in front of traffic," Dawsey said.

He says officers are always on the lookout for speeding, but this year, they'll also be watching for those talking and driving.

The fine for breaking the ordinance has not been set yet. Since it's a misdemeanor violation, the maximum fine would be $500.

Hancock says she hopes that this ordinance will be one more way to help keep drivers safe behind the wheel and students safe on school grounds.

"Since they have eliminated this just in school zones that could eventually branch out to people driving all the time people might pick up on the hint. It might help limit that."

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