PCSD steps up traffic enforcement in school zones
Reporter: Justin Schecker
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Even though the signs are posted and the crossing guards are on duty, drivers don't always follow the rules when passing through school zones.
This week the Pima County Sheriff's Department is stepping up traffic enforcement at several school zones.
Even though she lives half a block away from Hendricks Elementary School at the Orange Grove and Camino de la Tierra intersection, Christine Mathern drives her son to school.
"I don't let him go anymore walking because we've almost been hit several times," Mathern said. "Because people aren't paying attention to what's going on around here."
Hendricks Elementary School is one area where deputies from the sheriff's department are keeping a watchful eye on traffic all week long.
"We don't want a child hit," Sgt. Bill Murphy told 9 On Your Side. "We've been pretty fortunate. We've had some close calls."
The speed limit in school zones is 15 miles per hour.
"When someone is coming through at 25 it is very obvious," Murphy said. "Sometimes we get people at the full speed."
While on patrol for a little more than an hour Tuesday morning, Murphy pulled over 5 drivers for speeding through the Hendricks school zone.
"The common thing we hear from people is I never saw the sign, didn't know there was a school there," Murphy said. "And most of the people drive the same route every day."
Even though there are no laws banning talking on cell phones in cars, Murphy said the sheriff's department doesn't recommend it.
"We try to get people not to do it because normally they're distracted," he said.
Nora Herren is one of the crossing guard at Orange Grove and Camino de la Tierra. She told 9 On Your Side officers should be around more often.
"We're always happy to have them here," Herren said. "There's a big difference in the traffic when they're not here."
Concerned parents like Mathern agree.
"They should be out here more because it makes the people pay attention to what's around them," Mathern said.
While deputies can't patrol all the time, they will return to school zones during the two weeks after winter break.
Here are some traffic safety reminders from the Pima County Sheriff's Department.
-- Slow down and obey all traffic laws and speed limits
-- "Stop" for pedestrians in crosswalks
-- Always stop for a school bus that has stopped to load/unload children.
-- Do not block crosswalks at intersections
-- Be alert and ready to stop. Watch for children, especially where there are no sidewalks.