Most people don't realize this, but it is illegal to hold your cell phone and talk on the phone while driving in a school zone. School zones across Louisiana are hands-free zones.

You can still use your hands-free device in your car, but no texting while driving anytime!

The hands-free law has been in effect for two years, but most people don't know about it.

Governor Bobby Jindal signed the bill into law shortly after lawmakers passed the measure which prohibits most use of electronic devices like smartphones in school zones during designated hours. The school zones must have visible signs that indicate the use of handheld phone is banned during certain times, and the prohibition does not apply to the use of a hands-free wireless device or various types of radios.

There are also exceptions to the new handheld device rule. A person may use a wireless device in a school zone if they are reporting an accident or crime. A person can also get on their phone in a school zone if he is sitting in a parked car at the time.

What's the fine for violating the law? It will cost you  $175 for the first offense and $500 for each infraction after that. If your use of a cell phone in a school zone results in an accident, you can face double fines.

A 2011 study by Louisiana State University found that over 2000 accidents resulted from cell phone distractions, and over 500 resulted from texting distractions.

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