Deputy Presiding Officer Howard J. Kopel would like to remind drivers to be extra cautious when driving now that school is open, especially when driving in school zones.
School zones are areas marked off near all schools. These areas usually have slower speed limits, especially during school hours. School zone safety laws prevent unnecessary accidents and getting a traffic ticket in a school zone will result in a much larger fine.
When school is in session there are kids walking or riding bikes to school, crossing streets everywhere in every neighborhood. To help keep everyone safe, drivers should follow these driving safety tips:
WATCH FOR BUSES UNLOADING CHILDREN
Watch for school buses that are loading or unloading children in front of houses or schools. When a bus pulls to the side of the road or even stops in the middle of the road, you must come to a complete stop. Do this when you see the stop sign flip outward on the driver's side of the bus. Sometimes children that leave the bus need to cross the street, the bus driver puts the sign out to warn you that a child may enter the street and you are not to pass the bus.
One of the most important driving safety tips is….slow down. Never speed in or near a school. Slow down in residential areas and anywhere there are children walking to school. Most school zones have reduced speeds during school hours. If you get a ticket for going faster than the reduced speed, the fine will most likely be double or triple the normal rate.
DROPPING OFF KIDS
Many schools have an area where parents pull up to the curb to drop their child off or pick them up. It is important to use the designated drop off area and follow all the rules of the school for this area. If you can't use the drop off area, you should get out of your car and walk your child safely to the sidewalk in front of the school. Do not let your child dart through the parking lot by themselves. The drop off zone may have rules for how long you can sit in your car. Do not park and leave your car in the drop off zone, this will cause a traffic back up or force parents to drive around your car which can cause serious accidents.