Officers stress school bus, school zone safety

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AVON, Ind. – Avon school police are warning drivers to be cautious and slow down in school zones and stop when buses put down their crossing arms. 

As many pandemic restrictions are lifted, schools anticipate a lot more students returning to the classroom than last spring — which means more kids on the buses and walkways. 

Police expect much more traffic as people go back to work and more kids go back to school. So it’s important to start paying attention to the signs. 

“There’s going to be a lot of kids on buses for the first time in about a year and a half,” said Avon School Police Department Chief Chase Lyday. 

“Buses are going to stop frequently. It’s important that drivers understand school safety laws and school zone driving laws, when they need to stop for a stop arm, and how to operate safely in school zones.” 

Drivers may have gotten used to avoiding school zones and buses over the summer, but it’s time to pay attention again. 

“Every year, we have some type of tragedy where a student is missed. Someone didn’t see the stop arm, someone didn’t slow down in the school zone, and tragedy strikes. Don’t let that be your community simply because you weren’t paying attention. Look up, pay attention, be vigilant, and keep our kids safe.” 

We know that schools are starting back this week, which means drivers need to take note of the speed zones which change depending on the time of day. 

“There are a lot of flashing school zones signs now, that are very easily discerned. So, pay attention to those. Look up from your phone. Be aware of what’s going on around you, so you don’t get that very expensive ticket from driving too fast in a school zone,” Chief Lyday said. 

They also say watch for kids walking to school and stop behind bus arms so students can cross safely. 

“When a stop arm comes out on a school bus, it is imperative that drivers stop almost 30 feet away and stop in both directions. A lot of times drivers forget that if they are coming towards the bus, then they have to stop as well. It’s incredibly important to do that as kids cross traffic to keep them safe.” 

Both lanes of traffic have to stop when a bus puts up its arms unless there’s a divider. If the lanes are divided, then only the drivers behind the bus need to stop. 

Getting pulled over for any of these things could hit you hard in the wallet. 

“School zone infractions and violating stop arms are very expensive tickets. It comes with a lot of points and a very heavy fine if that is found to be true in court. So, it’s important to stop for all of those stop signs to avoid those very expensive tickets.” 

Officers also say it’s important not to be distracted while driving, so be sure to put your phone down, and avoid eating, tuning the radio or other things that would take your eyes off the road. 

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