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Cracking down on speeders in school zones

Dangerous drivers speeding and making illegal turns in schools zones. It's a big problem all around San Diego.

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A crackdown is underway Thursday to keep local school children safe when going and coming from school.

The problem is dangerous drivers not paying attention or speeding near schools.

As San Diego police hit the streets with radar guns in hand, they clock speeders in school zones, including Cabrillo Elementary on Talbot Street.

One of the worst areas in the city, according to officers, for people driving too fast.

"People are in a hurry to get to their jobs or the base or whatever and I see people going maybe about 50 mph," said Scott Macrae, Parent.

As CBS News 8's cameras rolled, police pulled over five cars every 15 minutes. That's 20 different speeding tickets an hour.

"It's definitely a little bit frightening for both of us," said Sondra Ferrigno, Parent.

This is what happened when police stopped one driver.

Officer: "Hi good morning Sir, is everything OK any emergencies I need to know about?"
Driver: "I'm trying to get over to the base."
Officer: "The reason I'm stopping you is because it's a school right here. The speed limit is 25 and you were doing 38."
Driver: "I apologize, I'm not from here."
Officer: "Let me see your driver's license, registration and insurance."

The traffic division says there are more than 1,000 schools in San Diego. And these days, there are so many distractions from smart phones to listening to music to eating in your car or even putting on makeup.

Officer Jaye Graves tells CBS News 8 there's one excuse for hitting the gas pedal that he hears every day.

"The most common one is I'm late for work, I woke up late," Officer Graves said.

Leading to dangerous situations as a SUV turns and cuts into traffic, forcing both officers to wave down the driver.

San Diego police handed out 3,500 citations last month. They say a good portion includes speeding in school zones in almost every neighborhood. 

California's fine for going past the speed limit starts at $35. However, San Diego County drivers can be charged an additional $200 or more due to penalties and court fees, which is money that helps to fund local and state programs.

"Also on the back is info on traffic school and how to pay the fine," Officer Graves said.

Police remind everyone that the speed limit is 25 mph in all school zones. But some areas may not have crossing guards or crosswalks.

And the reason they pull you over? They don't want drivers or students to be in serious accidents.

Parent, Sondra Ferrigno, couldn't thank them enough.

"Leave earlier or be late. You can still slow down. Being late for work is better than somebody getting hurt," she said.

"Slow down and watch out for our kids. They're our future," Officer Graves said

San Diego police say these are the top school zones known for speeding:

1. O'Farrell Charter School on Skyline Drive

2. University City High School on Genesee Avenue

3. Sunset View Elementary on Hill Street

4. Rosa Parks Elementary on Landis Street

5. Oak Park Elementary on 54th Street

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