School zone laws return with start of school

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The clock is ticking until more than 97,000 students in Austin head back to class. That means Austin Police officers will be on the look out for drivers breaking the law in school zones. Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo announced the department will start its annual ‘Back to School Traffic Safety’ initiative next week.

“Word to the wise, our officers will have a zero tolerance enforcement posture,” Acevedo said at a press conference Thursday in East Austin. “That means if you speed, if you pass a bus that is loading and unloading children, disobey a school crossing guard, dropping off kids where there not supposed to, you will get a ticket from the Austin Police Department.”

During the department’s back to school initiative in 2013, officers wrote 269 tickets for speeding in a school zone, 29 for using a wireless device and seven for passing a school bus.

Drivers using a cell phone in a school zone will receive a fine of at least $278. Lawmakers last year extended the law saying people cannot use cell phones while driving on school property, like a parking lot or drop off zone.

“The goal is not to ticket people, the goal is to send a message that we will be out in force and we expect you to comply with all the rules of the road,”said Acevedo. “For me there’s nothing more important than protecting the most vulnerable and the most precious in our society and that’s our children.”

Violations while driving in a school zone

  • Speeding
  • Using cell phones
  • Disregarding school crossing guards
  • Not yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks
  • Passing school buses while loading an unloading
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