WACO, Texas: With the first full week of school starting for most local school districts Monday, the Waco Police Department is warning drivers about the dangers of speeding and distracted driving in school zones.
With COVID-19 shutting down schools last spring, it’s the first time in six months school zones will actually be active.
“Because of COVID and because of how things have gone on during COVID that the general public has essentially had six months off or more from school,” Waco PD officer Garen Bynum said.
Distracted driving could put thousands of lives at risk on any given school day in the Waco area.
“We have a lot of kids that walk to school or parents walk their kids to school, but we also have crossing guards that are out there in the school zones,” Bynum said. “They put their lives out on the line as well.”
On top of speeding, Waco PD has also seen a rise in teenagers and young adults texting and driving in school zones. On the road, they get complaints about cars illegally passing school buses.
“They know it’s illegal, it’s not anything new, it’s been illegal for quite some time,” Bynum said. “I think sometimes people just don’t care.”
Waco PD made a Facebook post reminding the public about schools starting again, something they say they do after every summer break. They estimate speeding would not save much time, saying each school zone takes between 45 seconds and a minute to get through going the speed limit, making the risk all the more puzzling to them.
“If you’re going 40 miles per hour rather than 20 miles per hour, you’re saving half a second to a second on your time,” Bynum said. “You’re not saving enough time for the risk to be worth it.”
The fine for speeding in a school zone in Waco starts at $134.