Mt. Juliet, Tenn. – Come Monday morning, school zones in Mt. Juliet will be active as students head back to class. Mt. Juliet Police will also be out in force in their annual Back-to-School School Zone safety initiative. The police department will have extra officers working at designated school zones before and after school for the first few weeks, focusing on poor and unsafe driving behavior.
“The safety of our children is a very important priority in our department. School zones should be the safest roadways in our community,” stated Chief James Hambrick. “Motorists who speed and drive distracted in a school zone, not only place risks on other motorists, but they place risk on our children heading to and from school. Our officers are going to work hard and be on the lookout for those unsafe drivers.”
Digital radar speed signs will also be deployed during this school zone safety awareness effort. Mt. Juliet Police have three digital speed signs that display the speed of cars and visually warn motorists if they are driving above the speed limit.
In addition to the reduced speed limits in school zones, officers will be focusing on school bus stop-arm, texting while driving, seat belt, and child passenger safety laws in the enhanced enforcement effort. The enhanced enforcement will be conducted during the first two weeks of school as drivers and students become familiarized with school zones and new traffic flow. Officers will be deployed during arrival and dismissal times while there is increased school traffic. Random, unannounced school zone enforcement efforts will continue throughout the school year.
Parents are also encouraged to visit their child’s school website to become familiar with the traffic plans for drop-off and pick-up at each school. Elzie Patton Elementary recently changed their traffic plan for the new school year. Wilson County School’s website is: http://www.wcschools.com/.
To ensure our school zones are safe this school year, Mt. Juliet Police offer the following suggestions:
- Give yourself plenty of time in the morning! As traffic volumes and congestion on the roadways increase, so does the length of time it takes to travel to your destination. Giving yourself more time, by leaving earlier, reduces stress, increases your awareness, and improves your driving. Obey the posted speed limit signs and directional signs. This includes marked curbs. These signs and curb markings assist in the traffic flow into and out of the schools and assist in the safety of the students who walk and bike to school. One misplaced car can disrupt the traffic flow and the safety of our students.
- Be patient! Impatience leads to aggressive driving, rude or unwarranted behavior, pedestrian and bicycle collisions, and it creates traffic gridlock. Remember, everyone has the same goal in mind, to get our children safely to and from school. Also remember, the habits you exhibit in your driving and demeanor are typically passed on to your children when they start driving.
- If you are driving your children to school, have them ready to leave the car, with all of their belongings, when you come to a stop at the school. Backups and delays are caused when children have to get their backpacks and other items from the trunk or back seat of a car. Explore other alternatives such as carpool, ride-sharing, walking, or biking to school.
- Watch and obey the school crossing guards. Crossing guards are provided to assist with school traffic and the safe crossing of your students across the surrounding streets near each elementary school. Be on the lookout, be prepared to stop, and be prepared to follow their directions so our children can get to and from school safely.