Putting the brakes on speeders in school zones

By Matt Porter

Putting the brakes on speeders in school zones

September 30, 2013 Updated Sep 30, 2013 at 11:20 PM EST

(WBNG Binghamton) On a foggy Monday morning, cars swept passed the F.P. Donnelly Elementary School with most obeying the 30 mile-per-hour zone.

Still, some turned the curve on Conklin Road a little too quickly and the lights on Broome Deputy Robert Stapleton's cruiser came to life as he pulled drivers over.

At the beginning of the school year, it's a situation with which he's all too familiar.

"I've seen people texting, people following too closely, motorists passing other people on the shoulder," Stapleton said. "I've also seen women putting on mascara and other make-up items driving through a school zone."

Each fall, the sheriff's office attempts to put the brakes on speeders in school zones in an effort to keep students and staff safe as they make their way to school.

"Realistically, the first few weeks of school, you try to hit the school zones and stop a lot of cars," he said.

Stapleton said an increased presence early dramatically reduces the amount of violators for the rest of the year.

"Especially in the high school zones with kids driving," he said, "You got younger inexperienced kids driving to and from school."

At Chenango Bridge Elementary School on River Road, crossing guard Carole Smith knows the dangers first hand after being involved in a hit-and-run accident last spring while helping students cross the street.

"I felt something bump me in the leg and I turned around and it was a car. He didn't stop," Smith said. "It threw me right down, face down on the hood."

Stapleton said people forget about school zones during the summer, another reason to step up patrols at the beginning of the academic year.

"A lot of people just don't realize a school zone is there, or they pass by the signs and they're just not paying attention of the times when the school zone is active," he said.

At Chenango Bridge and Maine Memorial schools, the sheriff's office is using electronic speed detectors to help show drivers how fast they're going. They also use the data collected by the detector to find out how many people are obeying the laws.

The most recent data showed about 75 percent of drivers obeyed the school zone limit, Stapleton said.