High number of citations issued in school zones raises concerns
By Joshua Gutierrez on February 22, 2013
EL PASO – Five per cent of all the citations issued by El Paso police for automobile related violations ranging from parking to speeding – 11,181 tickets – were handed out here in 2012 on and near school zones according to the El Paso Municipal Court.
There were 18 accidents in school zones here in 2012 according to El Paso Municipal Court records.
“I take the number of citations very personally due to the fact that I have daughters and at any point your kids could be walking in a school zone,” said Gabriel Rubio, a retired 11-year veteran of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department.
The former deputy sheriff said that the blatant disregard for children’s safety as revealed by the large number of citations makes him worry about the safety of children and people in the school zones.
“People these days and especially young teenagers don’t seem to care much about the school zones or the speed limit in school zones because they are too busy texting,” says Ana Ramirez, a Mountain View High School security officer.
Ramirez, who has been working at Mountain View High School for four years, describes the current situation in school zones as a losing battle because there is not enough police presence near most schools to stop people from speeding through the marked zones.
Karen Watson, a teaching assistant at River Side High School, explained that if everyone takes a day off from work to look at these speed zones, they would observe the many problems that would lead to citations – speeding, drivers on their cellular phones, cars parking and turning around in non parking spaces.
Watson, who is a grandmother, strongly believes that, “no matter if you have children or not, you should be extremely cautious in and near school zones.”
According to The City of El Paso Texas Municipal Court, the fines for speeding in a school zone are expensive. The fine for a speeding ticket of just five miles over the speed limit in a school zone is $183.10, not including the court costs. The fines increase as speed increases – going 15 miles per hour over the speed limit inside a school zone will cost $283.10 plus the court costs.
Watson says that police can issue tickets over and over again, but the bottom line is that no one can completely stop the danger in and around school zones. But there are steps that the public can take to try and minimize accidents and infractions in school zones, she said, for example, if drivers were to pay attention to their surroundings and simply slow down in and near school zones.