Tackling pedestrian safety as school starts back

Schools focusing on pedestrian safety

HOMEWOOD, AL (WBRC) - In the last week, we've seen two serious incidents with pedestrians - one at UAB and the other involving a bicyclist on Monday night.

As school starts back, some school systems are putting up cell phone free zones, to prevent this from happening to students.

"Putting on makeup, I saw somebody reading a book the other day.  I was like, you've got to be kidding me," said Homewood Police Sergeant Jon Carr.

But for Sgt. Carr, pedestrian safety is no joke.

Especially when the traffic piles up when school's in session.

"It's a circus sometimes," he said.

That's why Homewood Police is enacting its new "No Cell Phone Zone" ordinance.

Drivers cannot use their phones while driving in these marked zones at every city school.

"We have a lot of pedestrian traffic," said Sgt. Carr.  "A lot of our kids walk to schools.  And we have a lot of vehicle traffic.  It's a busy area. It's just another way to try to cut down on potentially dangerous situations."

And statistics show pedestrian crashes are on the rise.

Pedestrian fatalities increased 27 percent from 2015 to 2016 according to the Center for Advanced Public Safety. 

Cheryl Slocum was out walking with her daughter Tuesday, getting a feel for the walk she'll be making to the middle school. 

"She's taking a new step," said Slocum.

The new school comes with some new first day jitters, but Slocum said these "Cell Phone Free" signs give her peace of mind. 
"It's a comfort," she said.  I mean, she needs to learn all kinds of safety on her own.  But it's nice to know the town is looking out for her.

Homewood police will be out in full force around the schools for the first few weeks, looking for drivers on their phones.

If they catch you, you could get a warning or get slapped with a $100 fine.

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