Authorities say that hundreds of traffic violations were recorded by local law enforcement last week during a school zone traffic enforcement operation conducted by the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit.
With just a few weeks until the Forsyth County Schools system is released for summer break, from April 29 to May 3 the Sheriff’s Office conducted a “concentrated enforcement effort” in school zones across the county, according to Sheriff’s Office spokesman Cpl. Kevin Pittman.
Pittman said that although the sheriff’s office conducts school zone enforcement year-round, the entire traffic unit was mobilized for the operation due to a multitude of complaints from residents about school zone violators.
"We prioritized our schools by the number of complaints they were receiving as well as violations observed in targeted school zones throughout the entire county," Pittman said.
Over that five-day period, the Sheriff’s Office issued 91 citations and 114 warnings for speeding; 21 citations and eight warnings for seatbelt use; 15 citations and 12 warnings for distracted driving; as well as a handful of other citations for things like expired tags and unlicensed drivers, according to statistics provided to the Forsyth County News.
The operation was meant to be a reminder for residents that even though the weather is getting nicer and school is about to let out, school zones are still active and rules of the road still apply, Pittman said.
"I think for most of our violators it was a big wakeup call to just remind them to slow down and pay attention," he said. "I think we all just need a reminder sometimes to slow down, get there safe and just pay attention to the road and your surroundings."
He said that despite the number of citations and warnings that they issued, very few drivers argued with them and overwhelmingly the community responded positively to the operation.
"We issued obviously a lot of citations and a lot of warnings, but we received a lot of positive feedback from the citizens, even people just yelling out the window, 'thank you' or 'keep it up,'" he said. “I think it was a good message for the citizens to see a heavy concentrated patrol of officers out there, conducting stops and talking with the public.”
Motorist are advised to be mindful of their speed and keep their eyes on the road while driving through school zones until the school year ends on May 24.
"We just want everyone to get where they are going safely,” he said.