Police enforcing school zones as kids head back to school

Police enforcing school zones as kids head back to school

YAKIMA, Wash. - Students head back to school this week and the Yakima Police Department is stepping up patrols in school zones to make sure your child is safe.

Drivers are being warned to take extra caution this week and slow down when driving through a school zone.

The speed limit in a school zone is 20 mph during the designated time which is in the morning as kids are heading to school and in the afternoon when school lets out.

If you speed, it will cost you. Fines for speeding in a school zone start at $214 for 1-5 miles over the speed limit and increase to $243 for 6-10 miles over, and continue to increase from there.

According to Yakima Police Department Traffic Sergeant Jim Moore, police will be stepping up enforcement in school zones the next couple weeks as drivers get readjusted to the reduced speeds in those areas.

“We are trying to slow them down because all of the anticipated pedestrian as well as vehicular traffic, that includes parents taking kids in their personal vehicles as well as the increased bus traffic," Moore said. "We will have individual officers out looking for school zone violators and writing tickets for speeding in a school zone."

Moore said in the last 12 months, more than 800 tickets were given for speeding in school zones.

Local driver Brad Cooper said he tries to be more attentive when driving, for others who are not.

“Now, many times kids are looking at their tablets or other devices so they’re not paying attention quite as much, so we have to pay attention for them," Cooper said.

David Ferraro is a parent who is sending his kids off to school this week and said he advises his own kids to be careful and hopes that drivers will take their time.

“Just always be aware of your surroundings," Ferraro said. "Just look around and try to stay away from streets, stay on the crosswalks, sidewalks.”

Moore said speeding isn't the only violation seen in school zones. Children not properly restrained in a car is the second most common mistake.

He said children are not always in the proper booster seat or they are under the age of 13 and riding in the front seat, both violations.

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