Thousands ticketed for using cell phones in school zones - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Thousands of E. Texans ticketed for using cell phones in school zones


The law prohibiting cell phone use in school zones has been in effect for three years, resulting in thousands of tickets being issued in East Texas every year.

Nearly half of those tickets written in Tyler are issued in just one school zone.

In a 15 minute period on Thursday, our cameras captured one law breaker after another.

The signs on the outskirts of every school zone clearly state using your cell phone inside a school zone is illegal. The law has been that way since 2010, and every parent we spoke to fully supports it.

"I think it's a good idea," said one Tyler mother. "It protects the children because when people are on their cell phones, they can't pay attention to what's going on around them usually."

"You've got kids running back and forth and people don't need to be distracted," said a Tyler father.

The school zone surrounding Caldwell Elementary in downtown Tyler is the most ticketed school zone in East Texas when it comes to talking on the phone and driving. In 2010, 750 tickets were written in that school zone alone. However, that number has been decreasing. So far this year, 507 tickets have been written there.

Since 2010, more than 1,000 tickets have been written in Tyler each year. In 2010, 1,736 tickets were written to people using their cell phones in Tyler school zones. In 2011, 1,607 tickets were written for that offense. So far this year, 1,086 tickets have been issued.

The number of tickets Longview Police reports writing is significantly less. In 2010, LPD reported writing 145 tickets to people using their cell phones in school zones. In 2011, 214 tickets were issued. So far this year, 189 tickets have been written for that violation in Longview.

Legislation has already been proposed to enforce a state-wide ban on using cell phones in cars. Though, if passed, that legislation would allow the use of a hands free device.

"I'd be in support of that," said one Tyler mother. "It'd be great."

"That's kind of too much," disagreed another.

It's too far off to tell if that legislation will be passed, but the law for the school zones is here to stay.

We also checked with the City of Jacksonville to see how many tickets they've written to people using their phones in school zones. They told us they had no tickets on record that were written just as cell phone violations.

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