Amarillo police on the lookout for school zone violations

Amarillo police are out in full force this first week of school making sure people are not using their cell phones in school zones.

And when it comes to the safety of students, police aren't likely to be very lenient.

With classes back in full swing and students going to class every day, the roads are once again jammed around the schools and with the new no texting and driving in school zone law in effect in Amarillo, police are also out in full force.

And issuing warnings instead of tickets will be the rule not the exception.

"Officers are aware of the violation, operating a motor vehicle in school crossing zones using a telephone or electronic communication device, so anytime they observe violators, they'll likely be issued a citation," according to Sgt. Brent Barbee with the Amarillo Police Department.

The problem also extends outward as students leave campus at the end of the day or often times for lunch. Many times they're traveling as a group and don't always pay attention to crossings, making someone an unsuspecting target if a driver is distracted.

"They don't always pay attention , they're with others, and they don't pay attention to signals or may be on a cell phone themselves and not doing their best to be aware.

And if you end up getting caught using a wireless mobile device in a school zone, don't expect a slap on the wrist or a 10 dollar fine. When it comes to a hazardous area involving students, the fines increase.

"Obviously, when the violation puts a life at risk put a kids life on the one, the officer is prone to more firm action with a citation."

Sgt. Barbee suggest just putting the phones away or completely turned off in school zones to keep everybody safe.

Those fines can range between $200 & $500 dollars.

And there's also a law on the book that prohibits anyone driving under the age of 18 from using a wireless