Hartford police target teen drivers for first day of school

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HARTFORD -- Monday night is technically a school night because on Tuesday thousands of Hartford children will be headed for the halls.

As in years past, Hartford police plan to patrol school zones for speeding and other violations, but they have a special focus to kick off the 2015-2016 school year: teens. Members of the Traffic Division will target high school drivers with the goal of reducing accidents.

Half of all teens will be involved in a crash before graduating high school, officers said.

Officers plan to focus more on educating and counseling the young folks behind the wheel rather than dishing out citations. They said additional knowledge about judging speed and safely turning will prevent problems.

Ivan Santana, a Hartford father of five, said teen drivers will be easy to spot. "They drive too wild. They think that they're in a video game or something, you know? Speeding all over the place. I'm kinda glad they're patrolling them," Santana said.

The new initiative put grandmother Joan Blair at ease. "That's the best thing because these young people, you know, they sometimes they want to show off and sometimes it can cause accidents," said Blair.

Crossing guards will also be on hand to help monitor young walkers, bicyclists and bus riders.

Jutta Harris was happy to hear that, too. "There's a lot going on in the streets of Hartford, especially on the side of town where they go in the North End, so that's very helpful to know that the cops will be present," said Harris, a mother of a fifth-grader.