Law enforcement agencies across Knox County have recently increased their patrol of school zones in an effort to keep children safer who are commuting to and from school. A spokesperson for the Knox County Sheriff’s Office noted that their efforts are particularly aimed at curbing distracted and reckless driving in these highly trafficked areas.
Troopers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol, deputies with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office and officers with the Knoxville Police Department are all participating in this initiative, which began on Sept. 14. Their patrol now covers all 88 schools and corresponding school zones throughout the county.
The first day of their enhanced patrol of these areas netted 136 citations. All but 36 of those were issued to motorists who were alleged to have been using their cellphones at the time of their stop. The use of hand-held devices in school zones was outlawed last year. It’s unclear what the other stops were for. Speeding was one of the other targeted offenses that police had set out to reduce, though.
Both of these offenses, notes the Knox County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, have been shown to have significant consequences if let to get out of hand. In particular, he noted that motorists who don’t obey distracted driving laws have historically been shown to be more apt to get involved in crashes involving injuries.
As an example, he cited the case of a 12-year-old Vine Middle Student who was injured after being struck by a motorist earlier that week. He said that the goal of the increased patrol is to reduce the chances of that occurring. He noted that they’re hopeful that motorists knowing that they’re around these school zones will make drivers more mindful of safety in them.
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