Hefty Price Coming for Speeders, Cell Phone Users in School Zones

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

PERMIAN BASIN - "Don't drive like a NASCAR speedway." That's the message Midland Allstate Insurance Agent, Pam Nichols, has for drivers.

Speed or use your phone in a school zone and pay a hefty price.

"It's $227," Nichols said. "That's the average in our area. It's sad that they have to put a price on that to make you aware of it but it's out there and the police will really be in force watching it too."

Allstate Insurance surveyed 81 Texas police departments and municipal courts about school zone violations and found big results.

"Over half the people they surveyed raised their fines," Nichols said.

So how do our fines stack up?

NewsWest 9 obtained information from both Midland and Odessa municipal courts.

In Midland, cell phones in school zones will net you a $297 fine. Speeding automatically gets you $122 in court fees plus a fine of anywhere from $1 to $200, depending on how fast you were going.

Odessa's cell phone fine is $230 and the maximum fine for speeding is $322.

The Big Spring Municipal Court said your fines will increase the more you're caught.

"Our fine right now is $280," Big Spring Presiding Judge, Timothy Green, said. "Second time offense, we will consider, at that point, raising the fine at that point."

This comes after Big Spring will be adding more schools, needing to protect those children.

"Those are going to be the adjustments that we're looking at because those three elementary schools will house a lot of students," Green said.

"They just dart," Nichols said. "They see Mom's car, they get excited and you just have to watch. You have to always watch during a school zone and some schools have the flashing lights and some only have the signs, so you have to be really, really careful."

School for Midland, Ector and Big Spring ISDs begins next Monday, August 27th.

Midland ISD Chief of Police, David Colburn, said school zone speed limits will go into effect on that first day.