Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

August 19, 2013

School time means school zone safety

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — The hustle and bustle of another new school year made its return this week. That also means motorists need to remember to stay extra cautious in school zones over the next few months.

One Pauls Valley police official said the start of school on Thursday did prove to be a challenge for some drivers.

“We made several traffic stops in school zones on the first day,” said PV Assistant Police Chief Derrick Jolley.

“We would like to remind everyone that school is back in session,” he said.

“We want to get it out on everybody’s mind to slow down and pay attention.

“That’s the message — slow down and pay attention, especially around these school zones.”

Motorists are reminded speeds in local school zones can vary from 25 mph all the way down to 15 mph depending on the street and amount of traffic normally experienced at those sites.

Jolley is also quick to stress school zone fines are considerably more expensive that regular traffic fines.

“We will continue to monitor school zones throughout the year,” Jolley said.

“Please be extra cautious when driving near schools or at times when children may be heading to or from school,” he said.

“During the morning hours when school starts and the afternoon hours when kids are getting picked up, you can almost guarantee we’ll have an officer in at least one of the school zones.”

A few other tips for school zone safety are:

• Avoid double parking or stopping on crosswalks to let children out of the car. Double parking can block visibility for other children and other motorists.

• Stop for a school bus with its red overhead lights flashing, regardless of the direction from which the driver is approaching. Drivers must not proceed until the school bus resumes motion and the red lights stop flashing, or until signaled by the school bus driver to proceed.

• Watch for children walking or bicycling, both on the road and the sidewalk, in areas near a school.

• Watch for children playing and gathering near bus stops. Watch for children arriving late for the bus, who may dart into the street without looking for traffic.