Thursday, October 10, 2019

School Zone Safety - Submitted by Greenville Schools' Director of Administrative Services Jeffrey Cassell

You’ve probably have noticed the extra congestion on the roads as school has started for our students in Darke County.

As school begins for many children, increased vehicles on the road and pedestrian foot traffic on sidewalks boosts the odds of potential school zone accidents. Drivers not only need to focus on the road ahead but also the surrounding areas during school hours when unpredictable children are present and darting across the street and jumping into buses and cars. To avoid getting into a school zone accident, follow these six school zone safety driving tips:

  1. Never pass a bus from behind. It should be a given since it’s illegal in all 50 states but never pass a stopped school bus loading and unloading children when the stop sign is extended and its lights are flashing. Children who lose their lives in bus-related accidents are most often hit by motorist illegally passing a stopped bus or by being hit by the bus itself, according to research conducted by the National Safety Council.
  2. Don’t block crosswalks. When at a stop sign or traffic light be sure to stop at the marked white line on the road before the crosswalk. When vehicles stop in the crosswalk, it causes pedestrians to go around the vehicle putting them in the path of moving traffic.
  3. Yield when flashing. Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons are one of the most popular school zone safety solutions communities have been installing at high-risk intersections. We have put two on Ohio Street at the K-8 building. Pedestrians always have the right-of-way but sometimes drivers don’t see them. When the system is flashing, a pedestrian is actively crossing the road and drivers are required to yield.
  4. Respect the crossing guard. Crossing guards are placed at three intersections where children are most at risk. Crossing guards protect every pedestrian using a crosswalk, but only if drivers respect the guard’s authority and stop when they're directing traffic. Remember, a crossing guard is always the first person on the street and last person off. If a guard is still in the road, assume pedestrians are crossing.
  5. Reduce your speed. We’ve all seen the school zone speed limit signs, but how many drivers actually reduce their speed when traveling through a school zone? The answer is not many. Please abide by the posted speed sign when students are present. Always assume there are children present during school hours and obey the posted reduced speed limit signs. Most states impose heavy fines for speeding within school zones.
  6. Don’t drive distracted. Many people drive distracted. When entering a school zone, rid yourself of all distractions. Children are notoriously unpredictable and a moment’s delay in reaction time can be the difference between a near-miss or a deadly collision.

Follow these six school zone safety driving tips to increase pedestrian safety in our community. But, if there is a high-incident intersection in our community's school zone that needs extra attention, please give the district a call at 937-548-3185. We are here to serve you.

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