Knox County law enforcement increases patrols, citations in school zones

Local News

Law enforcement in Knox County are cracking down on reckless and distracted driving in school zones to ensure that all students in our area get to and from class safely.

“The issue with school zones is that you have a lot more traffic,” said Knox County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Timothy Belcher.

Knox County sheriff’s deputies, Knoxville police officers and Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers are stepping up their patrols in school zones, making people pay the price for driving over the speed limit and getting distracted behind the wheel.

“In school zones, you have an increased presence of children, parents, staff and just people generally trying to get to and from work, which causes congestion,” Belcher said.

Now you can expect to see law enforcement at all 88 schools and school zones throughout Knox County patrolling traffic.

Just Friday morning, police enforcement issued a total of 136 citations, 100 alone for speeding and cell phone use. A law passed last year forbids drivers in a school zone from using a hand-held device.

As Belcher points out, these actions can have serious consequences.

“If they’re outside of those regulations, they begin to be distracted and they can cause injury, accidents,” he said.

These accidents can and do happen; one as recently as this week when an SUV struck a 12-year-old outside of Vine Middle School, sending the child to the hospital.

“What we’re trying to do is avoid that,” Belcher said. “If we can avoid all crashes, obviously we don’t want any pedestrians struck, but all crashes in school zones, that would be the ideal ending.”

Sgt. Belcher said he hopes the increase in patrols will encourage drivers to use extra caution when passing through school zones and always keep safety in mind.

“You need to drive in every school year and imagine that your kids play there,” he said. “Drive like your kids are here. Even if you don’t have kids, you need to be present that kids are here this time of year.”

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