School zone phone ban could be first step to full ban

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Students in Shelby County Schools head back to class on Monday, but thanks to a new state law you'll have to change your cell phone habits when driving through a school zone.

A new Tennessee law effective January first makes handheld calls in operating school zones illegal, punishable by a $50 dollar fine for those 18 and older. The phone cannot be held up to your ear. Calls must be completed with a hands-free device. Anyone under 18 cannot be on the phone for any reason.

Memphian Jackie Murray said she's skeptical and believes the new law goes too far.

"Very tricky. Very tricky," Murray said. "I don't understand how they would be able to enforce it."

But its sponsor told a Nashville newspaper it may be the first look into outlawing hand held phone calls while driving altogether, with active school zones the first step.

"I think it's a good idea because people are paying too much attention to their phones, can't see the kids, can't see crossing guards," said Harold Elder. "A lot of people are ignoring the speed limits in those zones anyway.

Elder said phones are too distracting, and he thinks the new measure is needed.

SCS said all citizens should stay off their phones in school zones, and while their school resource officers don't have the authority to issue citations, Shelby County Sheriff's Office and Memphis Police Department will be keeping an eye out.

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