Spearfish Police Department reminds everyone to be alert near school zones

SPEARFISH, S.D. — Students and teachers will be celebrating the first day of school in Spearfish public schools Thursday, Aug. 25, and to ensure a safe start to the school year, the Spearfish Police Department is reminding motorists and pedestrians to be alert near school zones.

“After a summer of becoming acclimated to not seeing school buses, traffic volume changes at the beginning and end of the school day, and larger numbers of pedestrians walking near the school grounds, we all need to change our mindset to now prepare for all of those things,” said Spearfish Police Chief Curt Jacobs. “School days naturally create traffic congestion as additional modes of transportation are utilized to get students to their classrooms, all during busy time of the day when motorists are travelling to work or home during the work week.”

Some reminders for motorists include:

  • Slow down and pay attention in neighborhoods near schools. The speed limit in school zones is 15 mph when children are present.
  • Be extra alert for children and other pedestrians, as well as school buses and other traffic, especially before the start of the school day and after the school day is complete. Expect the unexpected, as children can be unpredictable and are not always aware of their surroundings.
  • A driver must yield to any children or adults crossing in crosswalk areas and obey the commands of a marked crossing guard/signal. Never pass a vehicle stopped for a pedestrian.
  • Do not block a crosswalk when stopped at a stoplight or waiting to make a turn, as this forces pedestrians to go around your vehicle, which could place them in the path of moving traffic.
  • When a school bus in stopped with its red signal lights flashing, motorists must bring their vehicles to a complete stop, at least 15 feet from the school bus, and remain stopped until the flashing red lights stop signaling. It is illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.
  • Be alert for youngsters walking to and from school as you back out of your driveway or leave your garage, and watch for children on bicycles, especially at intersections and driveways.
  • When transporting children, ensure that they are wearing seatbelts/are using the proper car or booster seats.

Additionally, parents and students should practice the safety rules for walking, bicycling, or riding in a passenger car or school bus like buckling up, wearing a helmet for bicycling and being aware of surroundings and using crosswalks.

“We are looking forward to another great school year, and that includes motorists being mindful of school zones and school buses carrying our children,” Chief Jacobs adds. “Our officers will be paying attention to school zones and the safe operation of vehicles throughout the area near Spearfish schools in the coming weeks.”

Categories: Local News