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Drive carefully around schools
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Now with school back in session, the police are seeing some traffic problems around school sites. The problems are creating slow moving traffic, congestion, confusion, and to some extent, hazards for children and motorists traveling through these areas.

Of the problems that stand out the most, parents stopping in the roadway, without pulling to a curb, to drop off their kids is one of the most hazardous. Stopping in the roadway creates an instant traffic jam, which frustrates other motorists and leads to other problems. The kids then have to walk across the roadway, through a maze of traffic to get to the sidewalk. It is outright dangerous to drop kids off in the roadway.

Another problem is passing school buses that are loading or unloading passengers. School bus operators are required to activate their flashing red lights to warn motorists to stop. Motorists must not go around one of these buses, no matter the circumstances. The chance of running into a child is too great, and it is also a citable offense. Some motorists think that, if they are traveling in the opposite lane, they are not required to stop for the school bus. That belief is fundamentally incorrect. When a school bus has its red lights flashing, you must stop unless traveling on a divided highway. The police in Ceres do not give warnings for this violation - it is an automatic citation.

Speeding through school zones while children are present is also a persistent problem, as is the problem of people making U-turns after dropping off their kids. In order for a U-turn to be legal, a motorist must have 200 feet of clear roadway ahead - a situation that can hardly exist at the beginning and end of the school day. These U-turns cause instant congestion and they are unsafe.

The police make school zone safety an everyday enforcement priority with a zero tolerance for those who disobey the law. Drivers violating the law in school zones will most certainly end up with a traffic citation.

Most of the problems in school zones can be avoided by making enough time for the task of dropping off and picking up kids at their schools. We are very concerned that luck will run out and end up with a tragic injury or death of a young child who gets run over by a well-intended motorist who was just in a hurry or who let convenience take priority over safety. We ask that all motorists treat school areas as "critical safety zones," according them all the care and concern necessary to keep our children safe.