Q. Who gave permission to erect “no texting zone” signs in the right-of-way in front of all the elementary schools? Do they violate the city sign ordinance? Is texting while driving illegal everyplace, not just in the vicinity of schools? How is this enforced?
A. It may be that the “no texting” signs in front of local schools were put up by a private citizen.
“New Hanover County Schools did not endorse or give permission for these signs to be placed on school district property. Our understanding is that the signs are on the public right-of-way, which falls under the jurisdiction of the city of Wilmington,” school district spokeswoman Valita Quattlebaum said.
The district has no issue with the safety message.
“However, in this instance, New Hanover County Schools did not authorize the posting of signs on this matter,” Quattlebaum said.
The city of Wilmington is not responsible, city spokesman Dylan Lee said.
“The signs were not erected or approved by the city. They are in the city right-of-way and technically are not allowed,” Lee said. “However, the city agrees with the public safety message and appreciates the intentions. The city is working with involved parties to determine the best resolution.”
Texting and driving is illegal in North Carolina and Wilmington police “will pull a driver over if they see this violation occurring,” Lee said.
The signs are not part of any N.C. Department of Transportation safety campaign.
“My findings indicate that N.C. DOT was not involved in these sign installations. These signs are non-standard and N.C. DOT did not authorize these signs to be erected,” said Katie Hite, NCDOT Division 3 traffic engineer.
Hite said that it is possible the signs were erected by a private citizen.
Date posted: March 12, 2015
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