LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – If you are using a cell phone as you approach a Wolfforth school zone when classes start or the afternoon bell rings you better hang up or get a wireless device – that's the message from Wolfforth Police Department. Officers are giving tickets which will turn into tickets. It's state law, but it takes signs to enforce it.
The school zones don't cover a lot of ground, but Tuesday we saw too many people on their phones while we were out with too many to pull over. "We can't catch them all," says Officer Jackie De La Garza who keeps a close eye on Wolfforth streets.
De La Garza has one more law to enforce on the roads near three area schools. "It's a definite problem. I think every officer had to work a case where issue is driver distraction," adds De La Garza.
The state law bans talking on cell phones in school zones during the hours when the flashing lights signal school hours. De La Garza has made stops and given warnings and informed drivers about the new law. She says most of the time it's pretty obvious to spot someone breaking it. "It's the arm up to the ear," she says.
Within minutes, she spots a blue SUV breaking the law and pulls the driver over. The woman did not want to talk to us, and was given a warning. "So far the people I've stopped, their issues are they didn't know the signs were posted and they aren't sure if they were even in a school zone," says the patrol officer.
De La Garza wasn't just looking for distracted drivers. She spotted a child in a back seat who was not buckled and issued a ticket to the driver. "The distraction of cell phone is enough to keep drivers from seeing the car in front them, then what chance does a pedestrian or one of these kids have?" she asked.
It is up to each officer whether or not they issue a warning or a ticket. The department says these warnings will turn into tickets with a $200 fine.
The City of Lubbock plans on putting similar signs up over the summer before school starts next year.
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