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Campbell Police Say Vigilance is Key to Safe School Zones

Countywide effort aims at keeping school children safe this week.

Law enforcement officers in Santa Clara County are cracking down on unsafe driving around schools starting this week as part of a weeklong campaign to make students safer.

Although Campbell Police will not be participating in this week's campaign (it participated at the beginning of the school year and will once more have focused enforcement after spring break), Capt. Charley Adams said that school safety is never far from mind.

"We are always in the area enforcing, often times in the school zones," Adams said. "We try to get the point across that drivers should be more careful around school zones."

The purpose of the countywide campaign, titled "Operation Safe Passage," is to alert parents, commuters and children who walk or ride their bikes to and from school about traffic laws near school zones.

Throughout the week, officers will strictly enforce traffic laws in and around school zones in the county during peak commute hours.

Officers will focus on infractions including speeding, failing to stop for school buses with flashing stoplights, failing to yield to pedestrians, jaywalking, and using cellphones while driving.

They will also make sure juvenile bicyclists are wearing helmets, and that drivers are buckled up.

In Campbell, the most congested school zone is near off of Hamilton Avenue, Adams said.

"It's a pretty obvious one," Adams said. "We have a little harder task when you have three lanes of traffic to keep people driving at the posted speed limit."

But Rosemary is not alone when it comes to congestion during drop off/pick up times, he said.

"All of our schools tend to have high congestion during pickup and drop off," Adams said. "Drivers should be very aware, even if you are inching up. Kids can always run out into the street after their skate boards and even if you think you're driving slow, it could be dangerous. Drivers should be extra vigilant near the school zones.

"The whole purpose of focused enforcement is to remind people that there are kids out there," Adams said. "It's more to create a safe environment rather that for writing tickets."

Operation Safe Passage will continue through Friday.

--Bay City News Service contributed to this article

RSmall February 15, 2012 at 04:34 PM
We are lucky enough to live two blocks from our elementary school, so we can walk. Everyday we see some parent racing down the street or making a u-turn by pulling into a driveway. In fact my son and his friend were nearly hit by a car doing that very thing within the first month of school. Despite warnings going out in the school newsletter, this dangerous behavior still persists. I'd like to see the Campbell Police at Capri elementary more during pickup and drop-off times.
Mayra Flores de Marcotte February 15, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Wow, RSmall. That is a scary story. I live near an elementary school as well and have witnessed this same behavior. Besides having more police enforcement (and warnings in the school newsletter) do you have any other ideas/suggestions for things that can be done to help alleviate this issue? Thank you for commenting, sharing your experience with this issue and helping get the conversation going!

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