JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - We were alerted to the number of speeders through school zones, so we wanted to figure out just how fast people were going through these zones.
With the help of the Johnson City Police Department, we went to see if we could catch any speeders.
The flashing lights in a school zone mean "slow down", but some people ignore the lights and speed past them. "It's a 15 mile-per-hour school zone, ma'am. I clocked you at 32," says Officer Michael Dunn to a person he pulled over.
The speeding problem has parents like Dana Lilly concerned for children's safety. "I'm concerned that a kid is going to get run over, and somebody's not going to be paying attention," she told us.
That's why the Johnson City Police officers have started cracking down on people speeding through school zones. "I'll be honest with you, the school zone is the only place I don't give any breaks," says Officer Dunn to another person he ticketed.
Officer Michael Dunn with the Johnson City Police Department knows the problem all too well. We went with him to North Side Elementary off of North Roan Street at around 7:45 a.m., where we saw school buses filled with children, parents dropping off their loved ones, and students crossing the street to get to school.
We also found several people speeding. "Every single day that the cops are here, there is more than one person being pulled over, every day," adds Dana.
Officer Dunn clocked some people going 25, 27, and even 32 miles per hour in a marked 15 mile-per-hour school zone.
Every time Officer Dunn would find who was speeding, he would go to write a ticket, come back to the car, and within moments find someone else who was speeding. "We write several [tickets] here in the mornings and in the afternoons," he said.
Dunn says the main excuses he hears for speeding are "I'm late for work" or "I didn't see the flashing lights".
Officer Dunn says sometimes they have two officers working in the school zones and they use a laser to catch speeders. "We're out here trying to slow the cars down and try to make it a little bit safer for the kids, because they do cross every morning and every afternoon," he said.
Having the extra police presence helps ease Dana's mind. She just wishes people would be more careful. "[If you get pulled over] you're going to be later than if you would just take the time to slow down and be careful. It could be your child, it could be your neighbor, it could be your grandchild," she said.
Police want to remind you if you see the flashing lights to slow down -- it could save a child's life.
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