HOPE, Ind.– A late-August crash that injured four students across the street from Hauser Jr.-Sr. High School in Bartholomew County has prompted several changes intended to increase traffic safety near the school.
Since Thursday, the speed limit along State Road 9 near the school has been reduced from 45 miles per hour to 35 mph. The speed limit will be enforced outside morning and afternoon hours when a 30 mph school zone speed limit is in effect.
Several new flashing lights and warning signs have also been installed in the area to alert drivers to a busy intersection where students and staff commonly arrive and leave the school.
“We have a responsibility, wherever we are, to keep our students safe, our staff safe and our community at large,” said Flad Rock-Hawcreek Schools Superintendent Shawn Price. “And I think that is something we take pride in, is that we are part of a big picture and a family and we want to take care of one another.”
The focus of the changes is the intersection of State Road 9 and Hauser Drive, which is also County Road 600 North. That’s the intersection where investigators believe a student with three student passengers didn’t see an oncoming truck while trying to cross SR 9. Three of the students were trapped inside their car until first responders were able to extricate them.
“It was a very serious crash and we’re very fortunate to have all those students back with us and doing very well,” Price said.
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Yellow warning signs and reflective tape have been added to stop signs at the intersection, designed to remind young drivers that northbound and southbound traffic on SR 9 does not stop while passing through the intersection. Price hopes slowing that cross traffic by 10 mph will help drivers attempting to cross or turn onto SR 9.
“I think having that extra reaction time and being able to understand if something’s going a little slower, you’ll have more time to react to that,” Price said.
Price said the changes already in effect represent the first phase of the safety effort. He says more changes and new signage in the area could be yet to come.