Hands-free zones: What you need to know

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – Most drivers are aware of speed limit changes in school zones, but many don’t know that these areas are also hands-free zones, which means no cell phones.

Lafayette, St. Martin, and St. Landry Parish roads will be busy Thursday morning as students head back to school.

“We want drivers directing their attention to the roadway, watching out for children, watching out for our school crossing guards, and slowing down to the speed limit that is posted during those times,” said Corporal Paul Mouton.

Lafayette Police Corporal Paul Mouton reminds motorists to be mindful of the hands-free rule. The law went into effect last summer, but officers were not able to enforce it.

“Signs have to be posted in the designated school zones areas. Now in some of the school zones, we do have it posted so people should be aware,” said Mouton.

The law prohibits drivers from using mobile devices while in school zones.

“You can’t be doing anything where you have the device in your hand whether it’s social media, instagram, texting, talking on the phone,” said Mouton.

Missy Wallis is a teacher at Praire Elementary. She’s witnessed an accident caused by a distracted driver.

“I have witnessed some where they’re not paying attention and a teacher almost got kind of bumped into and actually one teacher did get bumped into. So you have to be really aware because that could have been a little kid,” said Wallis.

Mouton said it’s better to be safe than sorry.

“Put the phone down whoever is on the phone ask them to hold and pay attention to the road way and hopefully we will have an injury free school year.”

Mouton said the roads will be busy Thursday morning so he suggestes leaving the house 30 to 45 minutes early.

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