N4T Investigators: Top school zones where speeders are caught - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

N4T Investigators: Top school zones where speeders are caught

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TUCSON - Tucson Police photo enforcement vans are catching drivers violating the speed limit of 15 miles per hour in school zones. The News 4 Tucson Investigators wanted to find out for you where these vans are tracking the most speeders near schools.

"People don't obey school zone signs at all,” Stephanie Pitts said about drivers near Howell Elementary.

She walks her fourth grade son to and from that school on 5th near Alvernon.

"Speeding is truly a concern," she said.  "I don't let him walk home alone."

At Henry Elementary, on Harrison near 5th, it's the same problem.

"Speedsters coming through here without any knowledge of the what the speed limit is in the school zone,” Leo Robles, crossing guard at Henry Elementary, said.

The issue of speeding is on the "radar" for Tucson Police. These two elementary schools are top spots where photo enforcement vans have caught speeding violations this year.

According to data we requested from the Tucson Police Department, these are the top five locations with 15 mph speed limits where vans caught the most violations for the first three months of this year: 

  • Howell Elementary with 66 violations
  • Henry Elementary with 41
  • St. Ambrose on Tucson Boulevard near Broadway with 39
  • Prince Elementary at Prince and Stone with 35
  • Oyama Elementary on La Cholla near 36th with 32 violations

While crossing guard Leo Robles feels safer with the vans' presence, he says it's out of sight out of mind for drivers.

"When they're not here, they just go right through [the school zone],” he said.

The News 4 Tucson Investigators wanted to find out for you what happens when the radar vans are gone, so we clocked speeds near Howell Elementary. We caught drivers traveling anywhere from a few miles over the speed limit to multiple ones traveling 20 mph or more.

We asked Tucson Police if they think the vans have an impact on speeding after they're no longer out.

"The visibility of the van is a deterrent for speeding. We will see an increase in violations when the van's not there,” Lt. Paul Tosca with the Tucson Police Department's Traffic Division said.

He said the van captures video and pictures of violations. Officers review that material to determine if a citation should be issued.

"We're not trying to hide the location and surprise people. If we can get people to change their behavior because they know the vans are out there, that's all we're really interested in."

Pitts said the vans are a good start to combat school zone speeding, but they aren't a solution.

"When the radar vans are up [drivers] do slow down for them, but up until they get to where the radar van is they're speeding up until there.”

Tucson Police said van deployment locations are picked based on input from their vendor American Traffic Solutions and complaints from the public.

If you'd like to see if a van will be near your child's school, click here.

If you have a tip you'd like the News 4 Tucson Investigators to check out, email us at investigators@kvoa.com or call our tip line at 520-955-4444

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