Gainesville considering school zone cell phone ban

By: Daniel Gotera Email
By: Daniel Gotera Email

GAINESVILLE, Tex. -- Drivers in Gainesville might soon have to quit chatting on cell phones as they pass through school zones. It’s a trend that's already caught on elsewhere in North Texas. The city of Highland Park implemented a cell phone ban last year. Now, some Gainesville residents are hoping their city does the same for the safety of their children.

Law enforcement in Gainesville say they have seen firsthand the dangers of driving while talking on a cell phones. Now, the problem has caught the attention of a city councilman who wants some change, especially if it keeps the cities children safe.

"If it protects the child from being struck by a car, then that’s what I was looking at the most."

Interim Gainesville Police Chief Steven Flemming says driving in a school zone is dangerous enough. Add a cell phone to the mix, and the threat of an accident increases exponentially.

"Anytime you add that cell phone, things can get a little bit tougher."

On Tuesday, the city council voted on a first reading to ban the use of cell phones in school zones. The idea for the ban came from one city councilman who received complaints from a crossing guard at Edison Elementary.

The guard says too many people were driving recklessly through the 20 mile per hour school zone while talking on the phone.

It’s an issue which has caught the attention of the other city leaders as well.

"When we pass any law, we have to look at and make sure the proper actions are taken into effect and make sure it will protect the public before they get fined."

Sullivan says the city council will look into different issues relating to the possible cell phone ban, which pertains to all hand held devices.

Flemming says all hand free devices will be exempt from the law, but controlling this ban will be a challenge.

"You would have to have an officer in the school zone and they would have to make sure the person is using the phone and that causes more congestion."

City officials want to stress the cell phone ban has not yet taken effect. The council has to read over the ordinance two more times and approve it before it becomes official.


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