Start of school means increased traffic control - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Start of school means increased traffic control


 Today was the first day of school for students in Penn-Harris-Madison and South Bend School Corporations and that means drivers have to start paying attention to school zone speeds again. Police will be out looking for speeders and distracted drivers as school starts up again.

"There's a marked squad car right there...and they still don't slow down," Lieutenant Matt Blank of the St. Joseph County Police said.

Lieutenant Blank says now that school's back in session we can expect a greater police presence outside of schools and residential communities.

"Everybody kind of has gotten into that mindset of they didn't have to worry about the kids as much especially in the morning. Now, it's important to realize, 'Hey, school's back in session. Kids are gonna be running to catch the bus," Blank said.

Designated school zones are lit by flashing signals that automatically turn on and off based on when kids are coming to, and leaving, school.

"Typically, the speed limits drop to 20 or 25 miles an hour most of the school zones in our area," Lieutenant Blank said.

If you're caught speeding or texting in a school zone, you'll likely face a hefty fine.

"The price of the ticket depends on the violation as far as how fast the offender is going, but a good rule of thumb is in school zones the fines are doubled," Blank said.

Lieutenant Blank says he's seen what happens when drivers don't follow the rules.

"In the past several years we've had some near misses that could've been horribly tragic incidents. We never want to see that in our area or in any community for that matter," Blank said.

"Keep your eyes out for the little ones. and sometimes things happen. They dart out in the middle of the street. So it's up to us to just have our eyes close and pay attention," Romona, a seminarian with a youth focus, said.

Lieutenant Blank says it's just as important for those walking or riding bikes to school to be attentive.

"Walking with your child. It's not a bad idea to hold hands, especially for the young ones who maybe this is their very first day of school," Blank said.

He says leaving just ten minutes early can help.

"It's the first couple of days of school. Everyone's trying to get into their routine. So give yourself some extra time so you're not rushing," Blank said.

The Lieutenant also says police will be looking out for people passing stopped school buses. He says he doesn't have an estimate of how many citations were written at the beginning of school last year, but he says he knows the volume of tickets given out increases with the start of school.


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