Summer is coming to a close and that means school is back in session as we head into September. Along with new books, pencils, notebooks and other must-haves comes an often overlooked essential of the school year: Road safety. Police and traffic authorities from all over Onondaga County are reminding motorists of the forgotten rules of the road as school buses start making their rounds. Sheriff Gene Conway says people need to temper their summer driving habits now that school zones are back in effect.
“Those require people to greatly reduce their speed, and what we see coming off the summer months, failure to adjust to slow down enough once they’re in a school zone.”
School zones in smaller towns, villages and quiet neighborhoods are obvious areas for drivers to slow down or stop and pay attention to their surroundings. But Sheriff Conway finds that many motorists outright ignore busses that are dropping children off in more high traffic areas.
“When schools near a four-lane highway, people become confused or become ignorant of the fact that just because you're on a four-lane highway doesn't mean that you don't heed a stopped school bus coming in the other direction.”
Traffic incidents involving school children have been few and far between. But this past summer saw multiple pedestrian injuries and fatalities. These accidents have only raised concerns about safe roads going into the school year.
“You can go on the internet and see actual incidents of reckless driving that almost had led to children being killed while stepping off or crossing in front of a school bus, or while they're walking to or from school.”
Most New York school zones have speed limits between 15 and 20 miles per hour. Illegally passing a stopped school bus will have first offenders paying a fine between $200 and $400. Most Central New York school districts open their doors to students on Wednesday.