MOUNT VERNON — “School is in session,” said Capt. George Hartz of the Mount Vernon Police Department. “We want to remind everybody the speed limit past schools during school hours is 20 miles an hour. Be aware of school buses loading and unloading children. Be aware of kids walking out between cars and running across the road. Everybody just needs to use extra caution. Remember that school children travel the roadways on a regular schedule and adjust your schedule by five or 10 minutes to help you avoid busy pedestrian zones and frequent bus stops. Remember that the most dangerous time to drive in and around school zones is right after school. ”
For children who walk to school, it might be helpful for parents to walk with their children to familiarize them with the route to school.
“They should try to teach their kids to be aware of their surroundings,” Hartz said.
Fredericktown Police Chief Jerry Day said, “If there is a sidewalk, students should use the sidewalk when walking to school. If there are no sidewalks, always walk on the left, facing traffic. Cross only at corners. Never cross between parked cars or mid-block, and look both ways before crossing. At crosswalks with a crossing signal, or traffic light, cross only on the proper signal.”
Day said motorists need to be aware of the shuttle stops where students are picked up and dropped off in the village. High school students are picked up at the corner of Taylor Street and Tuttle Avenue at 7:30 a.m. and elementary students at 8:30 a.m. The same times apply for the stops at the corner of Taylor and College streets, the Municipal Building and Werner Park.
Individuals approaching schools on state routes also need to be cautious. They need to be aware of the school zone signs. Hartz said parents should be extra careful with their children near Twin Oak School. “Because of the location and highway there at the edge of town it seems we have received a lot of complaints about speeding through that school zone, so parents should use extra caution,” Hartz said.
There is also concern with traffic safety in the village of Centerburg when schools are operating.
“Speeders on State Route 36, in front of the high school, makes that an area of concern. There have also been some issues at the Preston and Main street intersection with people running the stop lights when kids are crossing. A lot of kids use that route on Preston,” said Lt. Dave Shaffer of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.
In Howard, Shaffer said, motorists should be extra careful on U.S. 36 east — the Coshocton Road area from Dollar General down to the Howard-Danville Road area.
“In Bladensburg,” he continued, “the concern is mostly from Market Street to the school on New Guilford Road.”
Monte Vance, Danville’s police chief, said motorists in that village need to be aware of the constant foot traffic on Rambo Street between the high school and elementary/junior high school. “Not just when school starts or dismisses,” he said, “but throughout the school day, students are going between the two schools constantly. Motorists need to be aware of the high probability that there are going to be students walking there all day.
“I also urge that drivers exercise caution at all the crossings. The students do have the right of way once they step onto the street. The students have the right of way and motorists have to stop for them.”
Shaffer would also like to remind drivers to expect repeated stops if they travel behind a school bus on its morning or afternoon route.
“When you see a school bus with flashing red lights,” he said, “remain at a complete stop until the lights are no longer flashing. Whether the bus is in a parking lot or school driveway, or on a street or undivided highway, you may not pass in either direction.”