Southlake Wants Drivers Hands-Free in School Zones

Hands-free devices still permitted in school zones.

The Fort Worth suburb of Southlake has become the latest to ban drivers from using hand-held cellphones while driving through active school zones, according to city officials.

The City Council voted unanimously for the ban Tuesday but motorists driving through Southlake school zones will still be allowed to use cellphones with hands-free devices.

The ban will be enforced as soon as signs are posted in school zones notifying drivers about the ordinance, city spokeswoman Pilar Schank said in an online story Wednesday for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

"We'll put together a comprehensive communications campaign so residents know when the ban goes into effect," Schank said.

In 2007, Highland Park became the first Texas city to ban the use of hand-held cellphones in school zones. Several other area cities have followed suit, including Dallas, Hurst, Watauga, Irving and Flower Mound.

Statewide, Texas bans the use of hand-held cellphones by school bus drivers who are transporting minors and by drivers under 18 for the first six months after they are issued their license.

Council members indicated that they would consider banning hand-held-cellphone use throughout the city if the Legislature doesn't pass some sort of ban this session.

"I'd like us to keep that option available," Councilwoman Pamela Muller said.

Councilwoman Laura Hill, who originally proposed the ordinance, said she will go to Austin to testify in support of a statewide ban.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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