Special Assignment: Speeding in School Zones

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October 1, 2006

It's a place you'd least expect drivers to speed up: school zones. Especially when flashing lights and speed limit signs are warning people to slow down.

"You have to watch your speed," says Richmond County BOE member Helen Minchew. "You have to be more alert, but you have got to slow down."

In this News 12 Special Assignment, we pinpoint those problem areas and ask what's being done to keep your students safe.

School zones throughout Richmond County are fast becoming a busy beat. Drivers continue laying on the gas.

"And people tend not to use their brakes," says motorcycle officer James Paugh.

Motorcycle patrols are out every morning and afternoon.

"Even though the speed limit's 35 during school zone's flashing, people are still running 45, 50, 55 miles an hour," Paugh says.

We visited two streets police call "danger zones": Highland Avenue, home to Aquinas High School, and Windsor Spring Road, home to Diamond Lakes Elementary.

"With the new school there and also parents coming in and out, school buses coming in and out, of course it adds to the volume of the traffic there," Minchew says.

So the county is responding.

On Windsor Spring, crosswalks were added, trees were cut down, and the speed limit was lowered.

On Highland Avenue, drivers are continuously clocked and often ticketed as a reminder of what could happen.

"It's hard to work that type of accident," Paugh says. "You really have to block it out and do your job."