New Texas law will address distracted driving on school property

ABILENE, Texas - A new law that goes into effect on Sunday will address cell phone use by drivers on school property.

Cell phone use is already prohibited by law for drivers in school zones when a reduced speed limit is in effect.

"Currently what the law stipulates is that if you're in a school crossing zone and typically that is limited to a public street or street immediately adjacent to the school wherever those areas are designated you're prohibited from using the phone," said George Spindler, public information officer for the Abilene Police Department

Starting September 1 that law is expanding. Not only will cell phone use be prohibited for drivers in school zones, but it will also apply to driving on school property.

Several parents said they think the law is not just a good idea, but necessary to protect children. 

"Kids don't pay attention as it is you know they run all over the place you see them darting between cars and if you're not looking out for them they're definitely not looking out for us," said Deidre Nickolson-Edie a parent in Abilene.  

There are some exceptions to the law. If you're parked, if you're making an emergency call or if you are using a hands free device you can use your cell phone.

Police urge drivers to watch out for children near schools no matter what time it is.

"We want to make sure that children going to and from school are going to be able to cross into those areas and not be affected by unsafe driving or distracted driving," said Spindler. 

Drivers under the age of 18 can not use a wireless device at any time and that even applies to hands-free devices.

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