School zone traffic enforcement steps up for back-to-school

Staff Reports • Updated Jul 31, 2014 at 2:37 PM

MT. JULIET – Students in Mt. Juliet will head back to school Friday, and in an effort to keep students safe while going to and from school, Mt. Juliet police plan to crack down on motorists who disregard laws designed to protect children in school zones. 

The police department will have extra officers working at designated school zones before and after school for the first few weeks with a focus on poor or unsafe driving behavior.

“It all comes down to the safety of our children,” said police Chief James Hambrick. “I want to ensure that our school zones and motorists are safe. So, I’ll also be out assisting officers in awareness and enforcement efforts, as well.”

In addition to the reduced speed limits in school zones, officers will focus on school bus stop-arm, texting while driving, seat belt and child passenger safety laws in the enhanced enforcement effort. The enhanced enforcement will be conducted during the first two weeks of school as drivers and students become familiarized with school zones and new traffic flow. Officers will be deployed during arrival and dismissal times while there is increased school traffic. Random school zone enforcement efforts will continue throughout the school year.

“It is Mt. Juliet Police Department’s goal to ensure the safety of children and teenagers as they travel to and from school throughout the year, and officers will be vigilant to ensure those who jeopardize the safety of our community are stopped,” Lt. Tyler Chandler.

To ensure our school zones are safe this school year, Mt. Juliet police offers the following:

• give plenty of time 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. Giving more time, by leaving earlier, reduces stress, increases awareness and improves 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 leads 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 driving and demeanor are typically passed on to children when they start driving.

• have children ready to leave the car, with all of their belongings, when coming 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 your 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 our children can get to and from school safely.

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