Law cracks down on calling and driving

Megan Simon

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It is now against the law to talk on a cell phone and drive in a school zone. The fee amount charged for violating this law depends on the jurisdiction he citation is given. 
The Lion's Roar/ Megan Simon

Louisiana is moving towards hands-free calling while driving. Police officers everywhere are cracking down on driving while talking on the phone. 

According to Revised Statues 32:300.8, engaging in phone calls is prohibited in all school zones. The fee will depend on the jurisdiction where the citation was given.

“I think they wrote the law because there was information made available to them that this is a safety issue, and I think it might have to do with public opinion,” said the university Police Lieutenant Patrick Gibson. “Individuals may think I’m a safe driver, but public opinion thinks differently.”

Gibson believes the recent law passed will increase safety on campus and in the community. He disagrees with those who think the implementation of this law was unnecessary. 

“I think people shouldn’t be using cell phones at all while driving,” said Gibson. “We had too many crashes involving that. I almost got run over myself while in uniform on the side of the road while directing traffic because someone was on their cell phone not paying attention. So, the idea that I’m just as safe with my phone in my hand, I disagree with that from personal experience.”

The University as a whole is not considered a school zone, but certain parts of the university are. The surrounding school zones are designated by signage indicating a decrease in speed. School zones around campus include the Laboratory School on North General Pershing Street, Holy Ghost Catholic School on North Oak Street and the Trafton Academy on North Cherry Street.

Although this recently administered law is meant to keep community members and students safe, Gibson believes the law itself is not powerful enough to ensure safety, but the members of this community have to step up to uphold the law and hold each other accountable.

“I think there are a lot of different laws that have been passed that can be useful tools, but no law in and of itself can make a community safe,” said Gibson. “The community is going to be more safe because we hold each other accountable, not just the police writing citations but the students talking to their friends, saying, ‘Hey we are in a school zone. Don’t be talking on the phone; there are little kids walking around.’”

In the end, students, themselves, are the ones that hold the power when it comes to the safety of other students and community members on campus.

“The fear of getting a citation doesn’t always work because there aren’t police officers on every corner of the United States,” said Gibson. “There are a lot of different things we have to focus on. So, we aren’t going to be able to catch everybody that is doing something wrong. If everyone holds themselves accountable and says that this is important, that this law was written for safety reasons, and if the students hold themselves to the standard that ‘I’m going to do it, I’m going to be more safe,’ then everyone else will be more safe. The campus is as safe as the students want it to be.”

 

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Law cracks down on calling and driving