Palm Bay police crack down on school zone speeders

By Caitlin Wilson, Brevard County Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, August 11, 2017, 6:04 PM EDT

School is now in session, school speed zones are now in effect and Palm Bay police officers want to make sure drivers are aware.

  • Palm Bay police special detail patrols school zones
  • USF grant allows team to patrol outside schools
  • Goal is to educate, stop speeding in school zones

A special traffic enforcement detail is cracking down on speeding in school zones throughout the city.

Officer Andrew Pidgeon worked on traffic detail for 8 years. In his time he's caught his fair share of speeders, plenty of them right in school zones.

"It doesn't surprise me. We are in this age of technology where we do have distractions inside the vehicle, cell phones, navigation, radio. Our attention is taken from the road into the vehicle,” Officer Pidgeon said.

Thanks to grant money from the University of South Florida, Palm Bay police now have six full-time officers that make up a unit patrolling outside their schools.

This is vital because each school has different issues -- everything from parking problems to traffic jams at dismissal time.

"About 15 percent of people do speed through school zones, and a lot of them are parents, hurrying trying to get their kids to school," Pidgeon said. And some are not paying attention to the roadway.”

While Palm Bay police will ticket speeders in school zones, they say their main point of this special traffic detail is to educate and stop the problem.

"Education first and enforcement second," Pidgeon said. "But if we don't see improvement or results from education, the next step is enforcement getting the word out to violators that we will issue citations.”