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City officials, school district urge drivers to slow down and pay attention

By Cassandra Webb, cwebb@ktxs.com
Published On: Jan 16 2013 07:14:12 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 16 2013 07:19:52 PM CST
ABILENE, Texas -

If you've noticed people driving too fast and using their cell phones in school zones, you're not alone.

City and school officials gathered Wednesday at Thomas Elementary School to send a message to Abilene drivers: Slow down and get off the phone. 

Principal Cyndi Smith said this behavior is extremely dangerous.

"It's almost organized chaos," Smith said. "I hate to say it, but children don't look before they leap," she said.

Children have a hard time judging a car's distance and speed. They think that if they can see the driver, the driver can see them.

Drivers on their cell phones are of primary concern.

"The distracted driving is the number one thing," said assistant chief of police Doug Wrenn. "If you're entering those school zones, it needs to become game time for you. You drop the cell phone or whatever it may be and you're scanning left and right for children that may dart out into traffic," he said.

Under a 2009 law, it's illegal to text or talk on a phone while driving in a school zone.

You could face up to a $200 fine.

Even worse, you could hurt or kill someone.

Officer Wrenn said there hasn't been an accident in Abilene school zones in nine years. He wants to keep it that way.