Council will consider a draft ordinance at its next regular meeting.
The West U. Police Department studied the school zone in the 3700 block of University Boulevard in front of West U. Elementary School Feb. 4-22 to determine the frequency of cell usage and its relation with traffic violations.
Police found an average of 13.5 drivers were on their phones in the active school zone each day and 297 drivers were seen from a single vantage point using their cell phones during the study.
During morning dropoff, there were 48 traffic violations, six of which were attributed to cell phone use. Most of the violations had to do with drivers entering intersections when children and crossing guards were present.
Police also consulted studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, New England Journal of Medicine and AAA Foundation for Traffic and Safety.
"All of the surveys we consulted with had the same result -- cell phone usage does restrict drivers of motor vehicles," [West U. Police Lt. Thad M.] Olive said.
Mayor Bob Kelly said he believes council should consider a possible ordinance.
"The cell phone usage has just gotten phenomenal in the last few years," he said. "The usage of cell phones is so significant you can't just ignore it."
Kelly said he spoke to the mayor of Highland Park in the Dallas area, which adopted a similar ordinance carrying a $75 fine for citations.
The idea for West U. would be similar in that the ordinance would not be to raise money, but awareness.
"He said the (Highland Park) ordinance has worked beautifully," Kelly said. "They had 10 citations in the first week, 10 in the next month after that and now there are very few citations."
There was some debate on whether an ordinance also should prohibit use of hands-free devices in the school zones.
"The handless ones are still very distracting," Councilman Michael Talianchich said. "I'm in favor of banning all cell phone usage."
Councilman Chuck Guffey said he agreed with banning hands-free cell phones because he believes most people will comply with the law even if it is hard to enforce.
Olive said that sort of restriction would be difficult to enforce because police cannot necessarily tell whether a person is using a headset or merely singing along with the radio.
"We'll get with the city prosecutor and look at it as far as viability in being able to enforce it," Olive said.