Be cautious at school drop-offs, don’t unbuckle kids before you stop

The Ark-La-Miss is preparing to return to school and there are some driving tips to remember as families start heading back.
Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 6:34 PM CDT
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OUACHITA PARISH, La. (KNOE) - ArkLaMiss students are preparing to return to school and that means more traffic in school zones. There are some tips to remember as families start heading back. CJ Beck, Captain with the West Monroe Police Dept., says that people need to watch as they are commuting.

“That’s just the way it is. There are more people on the roads. They need to be mindful of traffic, that it’s going to be, it’s going to cause delays. And so they need to spend more time preparing to get to the locations and not be in a hurry,” Beck said.

Plus, there are more kids to watch for as people are heading to and from work. As you commute, watch for the areas where you travel through school zones and add some time to make sure you get there safely.

“Kids are different shapes and sizes, different heights. And so one kid may be seen, the other kid may not be seen. That’s important to know,” Beck explains.

People need to check their cars and make sure all their mirrors are adjusted before heading out.

Beck also warns of a trend that he has seen with parents at school drop-offs where serious injuries could happen.

“I can’t tell you how many times we see parents that will unbuckle their children before they come to a complete stop because they are ready to offload their children. That is not safe,“ Beck said. “School zones, especially elementary zones are congested, and even though they’re going at a slow rate, it doesn’t take much for a kid to get hurt.”

Orlando Freemont, Safety and Security Supervisor for the Ouachita School District says that the drop-off points can be dangerous, for kids especially.

“When you talk about drop off and pick up that’s the beginning and the end of the school day, and even in how you drop them off and how you pick them up. Safety is definitely important,“ Freemont says.

He also explains that students are moving quickly and might not be seen in time.

“Students are transitioning from cars to the building and you want to make sure that you are aware that they may be crossing so, you don’t need to be on any of your devices or you don’t need to be distracted with coffee or anything like that you need to be paying very close attention,” Freemont said.

Beck also warns that there are penalties that carry hefty fines if you are caught breaking the law in school zones.

“Passing a school bus, for example, will cause a suspension of a driver’s license. It’s a mandatory court appearance. It’s a hefty fine, fines are doubled, sometimes tripled, depending on the speed inside of a school zone. So they need to be mindful that we’re going to be out there and forcing them to speed,” Beck said.

So make sure to drive safely as families in the ArkLaMiss head back to school.

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