Police Stepping Up Back to School Enforcement

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - Summer vacation is over for students across the Basin. Now police are stepping up enforcement to make sure drivers remember school is back in session.

New shoes, new clothes and new backpacks. All are signs that summer vacation is officially a thing of the past and school zone signs are here to make sure drivers get out of that summer sleep too.

"We will be out everyday monitoring the school zones, letting the people know that we're out there," Sgt. Jason Lee with the Midland Police Department, said.

"We're looking for the cell phone use which is very distracting, seatbelt violations, and of course speeding," Chief David Colburn, with the Midland Independent School District Police Department, said. "Those are probably the big three."

Both Midland police and MISD police are making their presence known this first week of school and they're keeping a close eye on cell phone use.

"That's exactly what it means, cell phone use," Colburn said. "So that means whether your talking, texting, emailing. Anything of that nature is going to be a distraction."

"They get more focused on what they're thinking about, what they're trying to say instead of watching the road," Lee said.

The law went into effect last year.

"We're probably not going to be as lenient this year because everyone's had a full year to know that they need to not utilize those devices in school zones," Colburn said.

Sgt. Lee with said because of that, they'll be out in full force.

"Officers will be out stationary under a very good position to view any drivers that are using a cell phone in school zones," Sgt. Lee said. "We do tend to target high schools due to the extra vehicular traffic associated with it, going to and from lunches and so forth."

Meaning even students could be ticketed, but we're told the 2011-2012 school year got off to a great start.

"We did make some traffic stops but most of those were warnings," Chief Colburn said.

"Very little disruptions out there," Sgt. Lee said. "Very smooth for a first day of school."

It's important for drivers to pay attention whenever they're near a school because not all school zones have the same enforcement times.

If you're caught on your cell phone while driving in a school zone, you could get slapped with a $200 fine.