The Marion County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) Traffic Safety Team (TST) want residents to know there are several new school zones in town that affect speed limits. Head Start and Pre-K schools were not technically considered "schools" when applying traffic enforcement of speed zones. Oregon law has now been changed to include them. In addition, County Commissioners are working on a new law that would make country schools part of the speed reduction areas. Schools will be able to opt-out of that if they choose.
Public Works employees have installed 20-mph speed zone signs in front of Cascade High School, the site of a fatal crash last June. A speed-zone radar trailer has also been posted at the site to remind drivers to slow down. Drivers can expect to see other new speed zone signs around other schools in the county. The MCSO says they will be issuing warnings in some cases while people get used to school being in session, but they will also issue tickets.
The TST wants to remind residents of the following:
- Drivers are reminded to watch for specific school zone signs, but generally the 20mph speed limit applies between 7:00am and 5:00pm, whenever children are present or whenever flashing yellow lights are activated.
- Drivers are also reminded to watch for school buses flashing their lights to indicate they are stopping to load or unload students. The red flashing lights require that drivers traveling in both directions stop until the lights are turned off by the bus driver.
- Never allow children under age 10 to cross streets alone. Adult supervision is essential until you are sure a child has developed safe traffic habits and judgment.
- Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings, using sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
- Make sure children know to cross 10 feet in front of a school bus, never behind, and to wait for adults on the same side of the street as the school bus loading or unloading zone.
- Always cross at a corner, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Try to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them. Do not assume that because you can see the driver, the driver can see you.
- Look left, right and left again when crossing, and keep looking as you cross. Walk, do not run, across the street.
- Be a safe pedestrian around cars; watch for cars that are turning or backing up.
- Parents and kids should hold hands in parking lots.
To help the parents and kids remember how important safety is, Deputy Tom Barber and his horse, Jack, were on hand this morning, greeting kids in Sublimity and offering safety tips to their parents. The kids were pretty excited to see a horse (and his Deputy) on the first day of school!
The National Safety Council has a number of additional driver safety tips on their website: HERE.