Law enforcement officials want drivers to pay attention at all times in school zones, but this week a special campaign is being enforced to hopefully decrease injuries in school zones.

The Capital Region Transportation Safety Coalition announced its Distracted Driving School Zone enforcement campaign for motorists to pay more attention in areas where children are present.

Through this initiative, officers in the following parishes (East/West Baton Rouge, East/West Feliciana, Ascension, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, and Iberville) will be cracking down on motorists who text, talk, or distract themselves with a hand-held mobile phone while driving.

According to the Louisiana Highway Safety Research Group, between 2014-2018, in Louisiana, over 2,000 people have been seriously injured in crashes involving a distracted or inattentive driver and almost 800 killed. Here in Capital Region, during the same time frame, there were 563 people seriously injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted or inattentive drivers and 139 killed.

Fines for distracted driving can go from $500 to $1,000 along with a 60-day license suspension for serial offenders.

“A driver we stopped for a school zone violation just the other day said I wasn’t paying attention. That’s the first thing that comes out of a driver’s mouth. Look you’re driving, you’re going somewhere, you have to be attentive at that task. Please don’t pay attention to anything else. Just be attentive to the task of driving and make it to your destination safe,” says East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Jerad Daniel.

Safety officials hope this initiative make people think about the impact distracted driving can have.

“A lot of citations have been written for distracted driving. We’re hoping that drivers become a little more attentive behind the wheel. Again, put the phones down, watch out for little ones that are crossing in the crosswalk. We want to make sure at the end of the day people are going home alive,” says Capital Region Transportation Safety Coordinator Kenyatta Robertson.

Increased patrols will be present in school zones aimed at saving lives and protecting the students.

The campaign will run September 3-6 during both the morning and afternoon arrival and dismissal hours.