Those looking to talk or text via cell phone in Cammack Village better take heed. A new ordinance in the town-within-a-city imposes up to a $100 fine and 10 days of community service on those caught using anything other than a hands-free wireless device in a school zone between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Cammack Village Police Chief Peter Powell said the ordinance, which went into effect at the start of the school year, was passed in response to incidents of distracted driving near school crosswalks near Jefferson Elementary. "We've had some incidents where parents were texting and driving, and we've had some rear-end collisions," he said. "We actually had some kids get bumped while crossing the street."
Powell said the ordinance is currently only enforced from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., and from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., though officers can potentially issue tickets and warnings any time school is in session. The city of Rogers also has a law forbidding cell phone usage in school zones, as do cities in other states.
Cammack Village has put up signs warning drivers of the prohibition on cell phone use at either end of the school zone. Though Powell said there have been no tickets issued so far, we've heard from at least one driver who said she was stopped and given a verbal warning.
According to the ordinance, exceptions to the law include if the person talking on the phone is operating a vehicle which is stopped or parked, if they are driving an authorized emergency vehicle such as a fire truck, ambulance or police car, or if the person is an employee of a hospital, fire department, health clinic, police department or medical doctor's office.
— David Koon
PS — Message to Cammack. Studies indicate hands-free devices do little to reduce the dangers of phone use while driving. Just about as dangerous, research indicates.