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Drivers in Denver’s School Safety Zones Being Ticketed Less Than Before 2020 | #schoolsaftey

During the same time period, the number of traffic fatalities reached an all-time high.

DENVER, Colo. – Denver police are issuing fewer traffic tickets to drivers in the city’s school safety zones now, compared to before the pandemic.

That’s according to the Denverite, a newspaper in Colorado that reviewed Denver County Court records from 2019 to 2023. The publication found that in the first half of the 2019-2020 academic year, an average of 510 traffic tickets were written each month. That’s nearly three times more than the 181 citations that were issued on average every month between 2021 and 2023. (Not surprisingly, during the pandemic when most schools were closed, the monthly average dropped to a record low.)

Conversely, the number of fatal vehicle accidents increased during the same time period. In 2019, there were 71 fatal crashes, which was an eight-year high. The number of fatal accidents dropped during the pandemic and then increased in 2021 and 2022 to 84, which was an all-time high. Last year, the number decreased slightly to 83.

Outrage Over George Floyd Murder Prompted Reduction in Low-Level Traffic Citations

The move to reduce traffic citations was in response to 2020’s nationwide protests over the murder of George Floyd and deaths of other unarmed Black people at the hands of law enforcement.

Denver Police Department Division Chief Rick Kyle told the publication his agency pulled back from citing drivers for low-level violations city-wide, including school zones. This was done, he says, to reduce the number of needless violent police officer encounters.

Kyle stressed, however, that his department continues to give out traffic tickets to drivers who pose hazards to the public, including those who run red lights and stop lights.

The department has also bolstered its attempts to educate students on traffic safety. Additionally, the city is issuing more citations using photo and radar enforcement and focusing on traffic engineering to make infrastructure changes. It’s also using speed trailers and signs that indicate when a vehicle is speeding.

Supporters of the move to have fewer police issuing traffic tickets are proponents of traffic calming measures, such as speed bumps and traffic circles, as well as radar enforcement. Parents of school children would like to see more crossing guards.

Traffic safety, especially in school zones, is a problem that has been around for as long as cars have been in existence. To read more about potential solutions to speeding traffic, read, Slowing Traffic: A Fresh Look at an Old Problem.

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