All cell phone use banned in Amarillo school zones

The kids will be going back to school before you know it, and the City of Amarillo believes it did the right thing getting ready for it this year, by banning all cell phone use in school zones.

That kind of activity and prohibiting it, has been hotly debated around the country for a long time.

With 47 school zones to cover around town, some might think it will be tough to enforce the new law, but according to Amarillo Police Corporal Jerry Neufeld -- uniformed officers will be on the lookout.

It's not just texting we're talking about, even if you're on the phone in a school zone, you'll get a ticket.

Neufeld said, "If an officer just happens to be driving near a school zone and he's watching somebody and they look like they're fiddling with their phone or texting, then have what appears to be a violation so that's what we're going to be looking for something more obvious."

If you're waiting for your child to come out of school and you're parked, you are allowed to use your phone.

"If someone's pulled over to the side of the road sitting in front of the school waiting for their child to pick them up and they're on their cell phones that's allowable."

Right now, more than 350 signs are in place, but Public Works Director Michael Rice says they still have quite a few more to put up.

"We have about 25 percent to go, 47 locations approximately and those are all the existing school zones. In addition to that we do have eight sites where we're actually expanding the school zones, some of those may actually be extended into the very first week of school but we should be done by that first week."

With so many locations, you have to wonder how the police department plans to send patrols to cover them all.

"First of the school year, our motorcycle officers really get used a lot in the school zones, basically trying to remind folks, speed zones, slow down and that kind of thing while they're there they're also going to be watching for that cell phone use and people that are texting and driving," said Neufeld.

If caught using your cell phone illegally in a school zone, the ticket you get could cost you up to $250.