The Great Hang Up: Distracted driving in school zones

    11:01 PM, Aug 19, 2011   |    comments
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    UNDATED (KTHV) -- Either you're one of the people who pay more attention to your cell phone than your surroundings; or you're one of the people annoyed -- by those who pay more attention to their cell phones than their surroundings.

    Either way -- frustrations run high.

    And when that lack of attention hits school zones -- it becomes dangerous. Students got a break from homework for a few months...but now school's back in session.

    And one thing they never take a break from -- cellphones. Though using them in the classroom is off limits...another area that could be tricky is...the parking lot

    "It's becoming a bigger problem. There'll be parents that are picking up that are not paying attention to the fact that they need to move. Because traffic is trying to flow and they're busy on their phone trying to text or talking or whatever it may be," says Principal Brad Gist.

    Gist says his students at Central Arkansas Christian are allowed to have cellphones, but must turn them off.

    "From the time they enter the building at 8:00 to the time they leave the building at 3:30 that's the way it has to be. When they're outside they can turn it back on," says Gist.

    Senior Sarah Gentry loves her cellphone.

    "I believe pretty much everybody does," says Gentry.

    Gentry and others turn them on as soon as they're free, sometimes oblivious to their surroundings.

    "I always have it in my hand and I'm watching it just to see anything that happened during the day. Updates on social things," says Gentry.

    I'm standing in front of what they call the atrium here on the campus of CAC. It's the main exit for when that final bell rings and the students head to their car. But as my camera caught today, seeing a cell phone in their hand was just as common as a backpack or a pile of books. And that could cause some serious problems if they or those drivers aren't paying attention.

    "I see a lot of parents on their phones, waiting, playing, waiting for their kids to get to the car," says Gentry.

    In school zones, to keep things moving safely and accident-free, a reminder, it's best to just hang up.

    Gist tells us they do have staff members on duty outside during drop off and pick up.

    He says some of his best allies are parents who call him to report other parents breaking the rules.

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