In an effort to keep children safe while heading to and from school this week, Mt. Juliet police will provide extra attention in school zones to raise awareness that school is back in session.
Officers have been assigned designated school zones before and after school for the first week, and they will focus on reduced speed limits in school zones, school bus stop-arm, texting while driving, seat belt and child passenger safety laws.
“The safety of children is our main priority,” said Chief James Hambrick. “Our officers will be focused on motorists who disregard laws that have been designed to protect children in school zones.”
Police officials encourage parents to visit their child’s school website to become familiar with the traffic plans for drop-off and pick-up at each school. Wilson County School’s website is wcschools.com.
To ensure school zones are safe this school year, Mt. Juliet Police officials offer the following suggestions:
• Allow for plenty of time in getting to school in the morning. As traffic volumes and congestion on the roadways increase, so does the length of time it takes to travel to a destination. Allowing more time by leaving earlier will help reduces stress, increases awareness and improve driving. Obey the posted speed limit signs and directional signs. This includes marked curbs. These signs and curb markings assist in the traffic flow into and out of the schools and assist in the safety of the students who walk and bike to school. One misplaced car can disrupt the traffic flow and the safety of students.
• Be patient. Impatience may lead to aggressive driving, rude or unwarranted behavior, pedestrian and bicycle collisions, and it creates traffic gridlock. Remember, everyone has the same goal in mind: to get children safely to and from school. Also remember, the habits exhibited in one’s driving and demeanor are typically passed on to children when they start driving.
• If driving children to school, have them ready to leave the car, with all of their belongings, when the car comes to a stop at the school. Backups and delays are caused when children have to get their backpacks and other items from the trunk or back seat of a car. Explore other alternatives such as carpool, ride-sharing, walking, or biking to school.
• Watch and obey the school crossing guards. Crossing guards are provided to assist with school traffic and the safe crossing of students across the surrounding streets near each elementary school. Be on the lookout, be prepared to stop, and be prepared to follow their directions so children can get to and from school safely.
• Stopping for a school bus law: On two-lane roads, vehicles traveling in both directions must stop. On multi-lane roads that are paved across, vehicles traveling in each lane in both directions must stop. On a divided highway with unpaved space or any median or physical barrier, vehicles behind the bus in each lane must stop, while vehicles traveling in the opposite direction may proceed with caution.