Morning headlines: Wednesday, December 28, 2011 | St. Louis Public Radio

Morning headlines: Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dec 28, 2011

Study finds one-third of public school students would leave St. Louis district if they could

A new study finds that nearly one-third of public school students would leave the St. Louis district if they could take advantage of a contested Missouri law that lets them transfer to better-performing districts. And a coalition called the Cooperating School Districts of Greater St. Louis said the transfers could bankrupt the unaccredited St. Louis School District. 

Missouri law requires unaccredited districts to pay tuition and transportation to send students to accredited schools in the same or an adjoining county. The statute prompted a lawsuit, and the suburban Clayton School District commissioned the survey as part of its defense.

A University of Missouri-St. Louis researcher surveyed 601 St. Louis households in October and November.

New law taking effect in January impacts interstate truck and bus drivers

Beginning January 3rd, the U.S Department of Transportation says drivers of large trucks, buses, and hazardous materials can no longer use hand-held cell phones while operating their vehicles.

The new rule is part of the DOT's effort to end distracted driving, said  Illinois State Police Trooper Dustin Pierce with District 8, which covers the Peoria area.

"The trucks they're driving, a lot of them are 80,000 pounds, and the drivers of those vehicles really need to be paying attention because of the longer reaction distance," said Pierce. "And it's going to take them a lot longer to get something stopped once they see a threat or a situation in the roadway ahead of them."  

Violators of the restriction face up to $2,750 for each offense, and disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle for multiple offenses. Commercial truck and bus companies that allow their drivers to use hand-held cell phones while driving will face a maximum penalty of $11,000.

Dellwood aldermen miss another vote to dissolve police department

Aldermen for the eastern Missouri town of Dellwood have failed for the fourth time to vote on whether to dissolve the police department.  Aldermen were scheduled to vote on the issue Tuesday night. But four aldermen opposed to the idea did not show up for the meeting, leaving the board without a quorum to vote.

The aldermen had boycotted three previous meetings on the issue.

Dellwood's Attorney, Donnell Smith, has asked a judge to force the aldermen to perform their duties.