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In the zone: Zero tolerance promised in school zones

August 18, 2011

School zone signs will start flashing again Monday as students head back to school.
This year, school zones have an added precaution — no cell phone usage. According to Municipal Court Judge Tim Green, the no cell phone usage was passed in the 2009 legislative session after the no-texting-while-driving passed both houses but was vetoed at the governor's desk.
“The no cellphone usage in school zones was able to make it out, which makes it unique, considering the no-texting in all other areas was turned down,” Green said.
Signs have been posted in all school zones throughout Big Spring and police officers will be patrolling those zones with a zero tolerance policy.
“The officers won't just be looking for those people who are speeding this year, but also for those who are using cell phones in those zones,” Green said.
Zero tolerance means simply that, zero tolerance. According to Green, there will be no warnings. If caught using a cellphone in any capacity in a school zone you could face a fine up to $200 and depending on the occurrences could face license implications.
“It's never a good idea to be texting or talking on a cell phone while driving, but especially in a school zone,” Green stressed. “School zones are busier areas and kids can dart across the street at any second. It's important to remain attentive.
“The law itself just makes sense. If you are texting or talking on your phone, you aren't paying attention to the road.”
The only exemptions for cell phone usage in a school zone is by emergency personnel or police officers in the event of an emergency. The signs are now posted and with the start of school the law will be enforced.
“We will be ready to enforce on day one,” Green said. “Just remember the worst consequence of all would be if someone got hit because someone wasn't paying attention to the road.”
The zero tolerance will be enforced during active school zone times, 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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