All Lake County schools began classes last week. Unfortunately, social media has been abuzz with complaints about reckless driving, failing to stop at stop signs and speeding in our school zones, particularly regarding teen drivers.
In 2015, according to statistics from ODOT, more than 1 in 4 crashes in school zones involved other school age drivers (15-19 years old). Parents should talk with their teens about obeying traffic laws and be a role model by doing the same.
Children are more difficult to see around parked cars and they can dart out into traffic or misjudge when it’s safe to cross. Again, talking with school age children about watching for traffic both ways before crossing the street is essential.
The speed limit in school zones is 20 mph in any of the following situations: Any time a yellow light on a school speed sign is flashing and between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. on school days. This also applies to crosswalks near school grounds when children are present. This means when children are in the crosswalk, waiting on the curb or the shoulder of the roadway at a crosswalk, or when a crossing guard is present.
Drop-off and pick-up areas get congested before and after school. Slow down and be alert for children and other pedestrians. Those in the drop-off or pick-up line, should be courteous by entering and exiting timely so that other drivers can do so, as well.
Fines are doubled in school zones and if that isn’t incentive enough, if a child is hit at 20 mph, the likelihood of major injury is 40 percent. At just 5 miles an hour over the speed limit to 25 mph, the risk of major injury increases to 60 percent ; at 40 mph the likelihood is 100 percent. Save lives, follow the signs and slow down in school zones.
(Information and statistics provided in part by Oregon Department of Transportation.)