Illinois State Police (ISP) District 12 Commander, Captain Cory Ristvedt, would like to remind motorists that area schools are opening their doors to begin the new school year. The start of the school year means an increase in pedestrian and vehicular traffic around schools.
Motorists need to be watchful of slowed or stopped school buses, crosswalks and of children walking or riding their bike to and from school. Be mindful of children possibly darting out from between parked cars. Plan ahead and allow extra time for these school buses and the increase in traffic flow during the morning and after school hours. A friendly reminder that loading and unloading happens twice, in the morning and after school. Please be patient and aware in order to allow students and children to get to their destination safely.
Motorists are also reminded to obey the school zone speed limit and avoid distracted driving. The speed limit in school zones is 20 miles per hour and is in effect from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on school days when children are present. Motorists are reminded that driving while talking on a hand-held cellular device is strictly prohibited, as well as texting while driving. A first time offense and any subsequent offense is considered a moving violation.
Motorists approaching a stopped school bus with lights activated and a sign extended must stop their vehicle before reaching the school bus. Failure to do so can result in a $150 fine and a three-month driver’s license suspension. Remember, pedestrians have the right-of-way in a crosswalk.
“We all need to sharpen our driving habits in school zones as children begin heading back to school”, said Captain Ristvedt. “This includes parents dropping their own child off at school; operate how you hope others will drive around your children”, he added.
The ISP Safety Education Officers (SEOs) are available to provide educational presentations promoting safe driving at area schools and throughout the community. The goal is to ensure the safety of our driving communities and increase public awareness as the new school year begins. To contact an ISP SEO in your area, please email ISP.SEU@illinois.gov.