Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1226701

Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 23, 2014

Safety required during school

By Xiomara Levsen | Aug 15, 2014

A lot of the school districts in Washington County will begin their first week of school next week. Uppermost on the minds of students and their families is to arrive at school safely.
Washington County Sheriff Jerry Dunbar said is important for motorists to know where the school zones are and how fast they are driving.   
“School zones in particular, we ask drivers to slow down, be patient, and let the pedestrians walk,” Dunbar said.
Motorists should also be aware of the children walking a few blocks from the school, Dunbar said.
“Keep an eye out for children in the walkways, and bicyclists,” Dunbar said.
There will be more patrols in school areas as school starts next week, Dunbar said. Deputies and administrators from the Washington County Sheriff’s Department will be looking for speeders and making sure traffic laws are being obeyed in school zones.
According to Iowa Code section 321.285 on the Iowa Department of Transportation’s Web site, most of the speed limits in residential and school zones are 25 miles per hour.
If a motorist is caught driving over the speed limit it could cost him or her $100 to $125, depending on the speed he or she is traveling, Dunbar said.
“This could also affect your insurance,” he said. “In Iowa the ticket remains on your record for six years.”
Children walking to and from school should also be aware of motorists, Dunbar said.
“Keep your eyes and ears open and listen for traffic,” he said. “Obey traffic signals and watch for the crossing guards. Also, make eye contact with the person driving in the vehicle.”
Before school starts Dunbar suggests parents know what route their children are taking to and from school.
“Take one day and walk with them to school and walk back [home] with them,” he said.
Washington Community School District has its first day of school on Aug. 19. Washington Community School District Superintendent Dr. Mike Jorgensen said there will be heavy traffic on Fourth Avenue in the mornings and afternoons.
“We have three schools on Fourth Avenue,” he said. “From 7:30 to 8:30 in the morning and between 3 and 4 in the afternoon they [motorists] need to be really careful.”
Students should also watch out for traffic when walking to school.
“Look both ways before crossing the street and never assume they’ll stop,” Jorgensen said.
Students can also report erratic driving to teachers and administrators, he said.
“If they can get a license plate number or describe the car we’d be happy to pass that information to the police department,” Jorgensen said.

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