Back in 2009, you know, when the Legislature wasn’t passing Jim Crow laws, there was a law passed which banned the use of cell phones (texting or talking; with the exception of hands-free devices) in School Zones. Here’s the main problem with the law: unless a sign is put up at each School Zone posting, the law is not legally enforceable. Further, a municipality can’t just put up one sign at a time, they have to do it all at once. Unless there has been a development in the last few months, Houston still hasn’t put up the signs.
When I was in High School, this really ticked us off, and, if I remember right, we were featured in the news protesting it. I even brought a little posse down to City Hall to speak at public session, but it was to no avail. That was three and a half years ago.
Just a little background, so you know how useless what the Legislature did today will be in reality. The Dallas Morning News reports that the House has passed a bill 130-15 which expands this impotent ban to include “the property of a public elementary or middle school.” The bill originally included all schools, including High Schools and private schools, but the former was axed after being seen as redundant (kids under 18 can’t use a phone in the car anyways) and the latter being seen as an unnecessary intrusion into private property.
I think this bill is a good step, for the record, but it won’t do a thing if the idiocy regarding mandatory signage isn’t addressed first. For the record, I did the research, and this bill (HB 347) does, in fact, just amend the bill from 2009 in the Transportation Code, so I am correct assuming the same rules apply.