Garland Doesn’t Enforce School-Zone Cell Phone Ban

City votes against putting up signs required to enforce state ban


Garland is putting the breaks on a statewide ban on cell phone in school zones.

Texas banned the use of cell phones in school zones in 2009. But by law, police can only enforce the ban if the appropriate signs are posted. And spending close to $80,000 on signage is not on top of the City Council's to-do list.

In a work session Monday, the council voted 6-3 to not put up the signs in the Garland's school zones. The City Council has addressed the issue six times in the past two years.

"I think there is a benefit in it," Mayor Ronald Jones said. "I think we should do it, but the majority of the council doesn't, and so it's a council decision, and we move on."

He said spending the money is not a problem. Jones said the city could easily phase the signs in, starting with elementary schools, then middle schools and, lastly, high schools.

City officials say the state law was written in such a way that municipalities to can choose whether to enforce it.

"The laws vary from city to city," said Garland Independent School District spokesman Chris Moore. "Some cities may post that cell phone ban, some may not."

The Garland ISD has schools in Garland, Rowlett and Sachse.

"Schools in Garland don't have the signs; schools in Rowlett and Sachse do have the signs," Moore said.

Some Garland residents said they would like the city to put up the signs.

"It's kind of disturbing, because seeing the signs raises awareness," Jessica Peters said.

"I think it's a safety issue, and I think they should push it more," Al Monserrat said.

Garland Police Chief Mitch Bates said the city had only seven cell phone-related crashes in the past two years.

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