Mt. Juliet, Tenn. – Wilson County students return to school tomorrow, and motorists should pay attention to active school zones and buses. Officers will focus on motorists who disregard laws designed to protect children in school zones and will provide extra attention at designated routes to and from schools during the first few weeks. In addition to the reduced speed limits in school zones, officers will focus on handheld cell phone use in school zones, school bus stop-arm, texting while driving, seat belts, and child passenger safety laws.
“Every year during the first week of school, we all have to adjust to the new traffic patterns around schools,” stated Police Chief James Hambrick. “I just want to encourage everyone to please pay attention and be patient in their travels around school zones. In addition, everyone should follow the proper guidelines at each school for dropping off and picking-up students. Our officers will be out monitoring zones across the city.”
Throughout the school year, the department will keep an open line of communication with crossing guards so they can easily report unsafe drivers or any other safety issues within the city limits.
Digital radar speed signs have also been deployed to school zones to raise awareness. Mt. Juliet Police have three digital speed signs that display the speed of cars and visually warn drivers if they are driving above the speed limit.
Parents are encouraged to visit their child’s school website to become familiar with the traffic plans for drop-off and pick-up at each school. Wilson County School’s website is http://www.wcschools.com/. Motorists and students should follow the school’s designated traffic plan to properly pick up a student from school safely. Motorists are strongly encouraged not to park in nearby neighborhoods to circumvent the school’s traffic plan. The additional, unnecessary pedestrian traffic leads to additional road delays and potentially unsafe situations, and nearby neighborhood residents are also frustrated with the additional vehicular traffic.
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 awareness, and improves 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. Everyone has the same goal: to get our children safely to and from school. Also, remember that 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 their belongings ready to go when you stop at the school. Backups and delays are caused when children have to get their backpacks and other items from a car’s trunk or back seat. Explore alternatives such as carpooling, 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 ready to follow their directions so our children can get to and from school safely.
Stopping for a School Bus Law: