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Summary of Legislation: This legislation expands the prohibition of wireless communication devices in certain areas, including public or private elementary or middle schools. The offense constitutes a Class C misdemeanor which carries a fine of up to $500.
Notes: This bill creates an offense where there was none. The legislation cites no statistical or empirical evidence that cell phone usage while driving on school property increases the number of traffic accidents, nor does the legislation demonstrate that prohibiting cell phone usage in those areas will reduce traffic accidents. HB 347 also applies to private school property, infringing on the rights of those schools to set rules and regulations pertaining to their own property. Furthermore, this bill does not specify if the property in question will remain a prohibition zone after school hours, during school sanctioned events, on weekends, or when school is out of session.
Recommendation: We recommend legislators oppose HB 347 unless it is amended to clarify when cell phone use while driving on school property is prohibited and by exempting private schools. Should the House adopt these changes, we will reconsider our vote recommendation.