SAN ANTONIO – As students and parents gear up for the new school year, local law enforcement is getting ready, as well.
Traffic gets much busier at school zones before and after school bells ring, and patrol units are on high alert to make sure zones are safe for children.
KSAT 12 News reporter Max Massey spent some time Wednesday morning with a Bexar County sheriff's deputy who was on school-zone patrol.
Is there any sort of leniency with drivers in a school zone?
"Speeding in a school zone is never OK. It takes extra time to brake in a school zone, and there's going to be more kids walking around. There's going to be more kids going to school, school buses as well," said deputy Ebony Jones, of the Sheriffs Community Oriented Resource and Education Unit.
During the first hour of patrol, Jones stopped four cars for speeding in a school zone.
But it's not just speeding officers look out for. The other big hazards are driving past a bus when the stop sign is displayed, texting while driving and not buckling up.
Have you seen a lot of accidents in school zones?
"Cars hitting children does happen a lot," Jones said. "So yes, I have seen that, and speed does play a factor. So when we do have the time to be proactive in law enforcement looking for speeding in school zones, we are really taking that to heart."
Jones has been with the Bexar County Sheriff's Office for 22 years and has children of his own. He said children should be able walk to school and get an education without being in danger of drivers.
"We are out here to make sure the public knows they are taken care of and that the children are safe going to and from school," he said.
How important is patrolling these areas?
"We do want people to be cognizant of the school zone, but if we do have any speeders we have zero tolerance. Speed limit is 20, and anything over is a cival offense, and we will enforce that right now," Jones said.
He said getting a ticket shouldn't be a deterrent to drivers. It should be the hundreds of dollars in fines that will affect their wallet.