Slow your roll

The bright yellow signs in every school zone, like this one at Lakeview elementary School, are there for the safety of everyone. The Gillette Police Department will be monitoring all school zones with more presence as many violations have been reported through the first week of school (RJ Morgan/County 17).

Increased traffic enforcement in school zones underway in County 17 

The kids are back to in-person learning with the arrival of the new school year. That means it’s time once again for motorists to slow their roll at various times of the day when in and around our local schools, which can sometimes be forgotten after the summer months. 

Campbell County Public Schools opened its doors last week for the start of the 2021-22 year without incident. However, the Gillette Police Department (GPD) has already been notified of several traffic violations in multiple school zones throughout the city. 

“Friday seemed like the worst day on the first week of school,” said Debra Montgomery, a mother who lives within the school zones of Lakeview Elementary in Gillette. “We stood at one of the crosswalks for a good five minutes waiting for someone to actually notice us. It wasn’t that no one cared, I think it was they just weren’t looking for anyone trying to crossover. Hopefully, they will get used to school zone times before someone gets hurt. I’m glad the police will be on patrol in our area a little more than normal, thank goodness.” 

School zones are clearly marked – can’t miss the bright yellow signs. Remember, there is a lot more congestion around schools as children walk to and from school and as buses and parents try to drop off or pick up children each day.  Drivers often make mistakes when they are caught in traffic, stressed, or running late for work. Plan ahead when it comes to school zones – picking up, dropping off or driving through. 

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School officials and law enforcement ask that everyone be aware of school zones and pedestrians for the safety of everyone. Here are a few rules to keep in mind while adjusting now that schools are back in sessions: 

  • Motorists are cautioned to be aware of children traveling to and from the schools. Motorists should always reduce their speeds when approaching a campus. School zones have reduced speed limits of 20 miles per hour and will also be properly marked with speed limit signs. 
  • Motorists must remain vigilant when approaching intersections controlled by cross guards and stop when signaled. If a crossing guard is present in the intersection, all traffic must halt until he or she and the children have cleared the roadway. 
  • If a crosswalk not controlled by a crossing guard is occupied by a pedestrian with the intention of crossing the street, then the pedestrian has the right of way traffic must yield to them. 
  • You should schedule at least 15 extra minutes each day when driving through a school zone, and if you need to drop off or pick up your child then you should expect at least 20-minute delays. 
  • In all 50 states, it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus that has a stop sign extended and lights on. This indicates that children are getting on or off the bus. Most bus-related accidents happen because cars do not head to this law, and you should know what the law requires motorists to do when they approach a school bus on the road. Drivers should always yield the right of way to school buses. Additionally, make sure that you share the road with buses and do not try and beat them at intersections and in parking lots.
  • Lastly, be mindful of children who are waiting at a bus stop. They may be close to the street or curb, and it is important that you are alert. If a child trips and falls into the street, you want to be able to move. 

In an effort to reduce traffic violations and raise school safety awareness, the GPD will immediately focus its effort on traffic enforcement in school zones. It is likely you will see a police officer enforcing traffic laws in and around school zones. 

Please slow down and remain vigilant for the safety of our children and our community. If you see a traffic violation, law enforcement asks that you call 911 and report the violation or problem as soon as possible.