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Phone laws are the right move

School zones are sacred.

We delineate them as a means of protecting what should be most important to us in the world — our own children. We have set up laws that levy harsh penalties against the people who show negligence or a devil-may-care attitude while in school zones because we appreciate our children, from the little ones to the maybe reckless teens who need us to be paying attention so accidents can be avoided.
That is why rules like the state’s provision to make sure drivers are keeping both hands on the wheel are necessary. We already have a host of restrictions on how we drive in school zones, in the presence of school buses and in other capacities involving children, so it should come as no surprise or shock to our systems.

What is important to note is this restriction is one that many have likely already broken without realizing it. You cannot legally be holding a cell phone to your ear when you drive through a school zone now.

Ennis is working on getting the rule implemented, and that is good.

The law, effective at the beginning of this month, also applies to bus drivers. Those found in violation of the law can be fined up to $200. That fine is likely too loose — a driver’s ability to react to, say, a student darting out from between parked buses into a traffic lane because we have both hands on the wheel is not to be underestimated.

Cellular phones will still be allowable; the new law will require operators to use hands-free devices readily available both from phone manufacturers and aftermarket retailers or while stopped in a school zone.

We hear more and more about avoidable accidents caused by activities like text-messaging while driving (also now regulated by law), using the phone while driving or even fiddling with the radio on the interstate.

The cell phone restrictions go even further into the realm of managing teenage drivers. Drivers younger than 18 are banned from using cell phones at all while driving — the reasoning is easily understandable that less experienced drivers are more prone to error than the more seasoned among us.

Our cell phones are great tools, but they are a liability for our attention, and there are some times when our attention must not be divided.

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Posted by on Sep 24 2009. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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