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Everyone needs to treat school zone areas with extreme caution
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With the schools back in session, traffic dangers, motorist conflicts and congestion will pose problems for students, parents, buses, and other people using the roadways to get to work or other destinations.

Some amount of delays near the schools is to be expected, but the bigger problems are caused by motorists who stop the flow of traffic by dropping kids off in the middle of the road, make unsafe u-turns, fail to use their turn signals, illegally pass school buses that are loading or off-loading children, and the list of unsafe and careless traffic moves goes on.

Many parents have hectic lives and must contend with multiple tasks each school-day morning and afternoon. Those with kids of different ages may have to make stops at multiple schools within a small window of time to ensure they are not tardy, while managing to get to work on time once the children are at school. They are in a hurry, are distracted, and may be prone to driving without enough safety in mind. It is common to see parents speeding near school zones, running stop signs, unsafely passing other vehicles, talking or texting on their cell phones, and some are even shaving, applying make-up or doing a host of other activities that distract from safety. We all can understand these pressures, but there is no excuse for endangering children or other motorists sharing the road with you. The congestion alone caused by rude people dropping off kids in the middle of the road is a problem big enough to spark frustration for other drivers, but it is also extremely unsafe for the kids who are zigzagging through traffic without using designated crosswalks.

Motorists who have to pass through school zone areas and residents in the neighborhoods where schools are located are also affected by the traffic problems there. Some get frustrated and try pass in the opposing lane to speed their way through the area. Others wait patiently, hoping for the best. But those who add to the dangers need to either bypass those areas by finding a new route to their destination or change their travel times to avoid the frustration. Regardless, there is no excuse, nor does the law permit unsafe driving in a school zone. It is dangerous to try to aggressively maneuver through all the activity in school zones so it is best to avoid them if possible, or just accept that your travels will be impeded near schools.

School staff does their best to deal with the traffic challenges. Many situations are often beyond their control because many of the schools were built years ago, in an environment that had a much smaller population with far less traffic. And, structural solutions will not come anytime soon, especially during these times of financial difficulties. It is, therefore, up to all of us to collectively keep school zones safe and free from child casualties, frustration and congestion.

The police will rigorously enforce school zone laws. Any motorist observed passing a school bus in the process of loading or off-loading children, especially, can expect to be cited. Motorists should count on regularly seeing traffic officers in and around school zones in effort to keep the children safe from the traffic and provide additional security for those who are walking to and from school.

Enforcement alone is not enough to solve the problem. And as I stated earlier, the real solution is an engineering one. Roadways need to be enlarged near school zones and specific lanes need to be created to allow for multiple cars to pull over to drop off or pick up students.

Everyone needs to treat school zone areas with extreme caution considering the precious young people who are there in high numbers. The police will contribute to the cause with zero-tolerance enforcement, but we are hoping that motorists' common sense and their concern for safety will minimize the need for police enforcement.