[Update] The full House of the Louisiana Legislature approved a measure that would make it unlawful for a driver to use a cellphone while traveling through an active school zone.

Bossier City Representative Jeff Thompson authored the legislation with one thing in mind. Keeping our children safe. Thompson remarked to the Louisiana Radio Network,

"Going and coming from school. Lights flashing. Prohibits the use of hand held phones during those times only, for childrens safety,"

Those found to be in violation of the law would be subject to a fine of $175 for a first offense. That penalty would escalate to $500 for a second offense. The bill now moves forward to the Senate for consideration by that chamber.

[Original Story]

It seems as if a lot of our Louisiana Legislature's time this session has been spent on cellphones. No, I don't mean they've been talking on the phone too much, they seem to believe that we talk on our cellphones too much. They are probably right but so far no legislation that has been proposed has become law.

Recently the legislature reviewed a proposed "hands free mandate" that would require mobile phone users to have a hands free device. That didn't pass. Now there is a new proposal that has made it out of the House Transportation Committee and will be debated by the full house. The proposal bans the use of cellphones in active school zones.

At first blush this seems like a great idea. Drivers should be watching the road and watching for kids and watching for buses. The reality is this, how do you enforce that law?

Do you really think a business person is going to put a deal on hold while he passes by Lafayette High School? Do you think your boss is going to agree to 'hold on" while you creep by Fatima? I don't think so, but the House Transportation Committee thinks so.

The bill passed out of committee by the narrowest of margins and will now be debated on the house floor. The proposal states that mobile phone users can not use their devices while traveling through an active school zone. That means when the yellow lights are flashing and the school zone speed limits are in effect you should not be talking and driving. On paper it sounds good, in reality it seems very difficult to enforce.

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