ODESSA, TX (KWES) - Students are grieving and parents are celebrating, and that can only mean one thing - the new school year is right around the corner.
While many students are brushing up on their numbers and letters, the ECISD Police and Odessa Crime Stoppers want drivers to brush up on their school zone awareness.
We all know what it means when we see the yellow flashing light and the school zone sign: put down the phone and slow down. But, police say that some people just aren't getting the message, and the reason is simple - they're distracted.
"We have busy lives. There are people trying to make a living in this town. They're thinking about their phone or relationship problems. They have all types of different issues on their mind and they don't think about that school zone. They're just going," said Officer Chancey Westfall of the ECISD Police.
But "just going" can bear a heavy price. Traffic violations within school zones can cost up to $500. In the first half of 2015 alone, ECISD and Odessa Police collected more than $57,000 in fines related to violations in school zones.
"People tell us they're glad that we do this because it reminds them that there are so many people that don't actually have kids in school, so they don't even know what day school is going to start and they get caught off guard with all this going on," said Susan Rogers with Odessa Crime Stoppers.
The district does have crossing guards, but not enough to staff every school zone, so it's up to drivers to think about the safety of school children.
ECISD does have a few new schools and so more children will be walking in several new areas.