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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Hands-free? Try brain-free!

A story in the Dallas Morning News warns that it may very soon be illegal and fineable to use a cell phone for calls or texting in a DISD school zone.

Yeah, that's all well and good to make that announcement, but what I really want to know is -- who exactly are they expecting to enforce this law?

As you know, I work out in the school zone every morning before classes. And I consistently see people speeding -- parents, teachers, and bus drivers -- which I'm pretty certain is illegal as well. But what is happening to these people? Absolutely nothing. I think there was ONE day, last year, when a police officer was near the school and wrote a couple of tickets.

But otherwise, the speed limit is not enforced. Anonymous Joe and I tell people to slow down, but we have no real authority over them (and usually the people just tell us that they were going 20 anyway, even when it's obvious they were going over 30). If they pass this law that makes cell phones illegal in the school zone, that will just serve as another annoyance to Anonymous Joe and me. Because WE'LL be the ones that have to tell people, "You know, it's illegal now to use your cell phone in the school zone." To which people will undoubtedly reply, "I was just holding my phone, I wasn't using it," or, "I know, but this is a really important call!"

My suggestion to the city of Dallas is don't worry about proposing new laws until you put a system in place to enforce the existing ones. Assign a police officer to park his car in the street right behind my school, and I guarantee you he'll be busy for an hour writing tickets.

I'm not even suggesting that we need a police officer for every school for every day. But how about rotating them randomly through a set of schools so that they're at my school one day every two weeks. And no one will know when that day is going to be. THEN maybe people will have the fear in them enough to actually drive the speed limit.

And only then will people have the fear in them not to use a cell phone when dropping their kids off.


kath said...

Call your constable's office and ask them to swing by.

They LOVE to write tickets, and have regular ticket writing parties at Hillcrest High where I teach.

We did have to call and invite them, but they hang out with us on a regular basis.

Anonymous said...

Illegal to use a phone, or illegal to use a phone while driving?
In the UK, it is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving a car anywhere. I think the aim is mainly to use the law to act as a nudge to the conscience. Just as drinking driving is now considered a truly wicked thing in the UK since the introduction of laws against it, so will dangerously using a mobile phone while driving.

Of course, I would LOVE to see a law against mobile phones in school. It might help me cut down the number of times they interrupt my lessons.

Mister Teacher said...

Kath, I'd love it if you could email me the number...

Anonymous said...

My standing in the middle of the street has effectively slowed them down where the kids are afoot.

Mr Teacher and I have done a great job:

stopping cars from driving on the wrong side of the road and parking on the wrong side.

We have slowed them down. Most of them.

Drivers pull to the curb instead of letting kids out in the traffic lanes.

Kids and adults almost always cross at the crosswalk (which I painted on a day off.

Only occasionally will someone park next to the "NO PARKING" sign, obstructing the flow.

I also think we have created a sense of security and safety for our customers.

It is a good thing we are there taking the job seriously.

Great Job Mr Teacher and AJ.

Anonymous Joe

Mrs. T said...

Exactly. Who do they honestly think is going to enforce this? Sure it's a great idea.
With the speeding- have they every installed one of those "Your current speed is___" signs that posts your speed as you drive past it? Some of our elementary schools have put out a large number of bright yellow "school zone" signs - esp. at the start of the school year. Can't hurt.