Slow down! School is open

Cautious driving in school zones could save a child's life.

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A new school year has started in the Walla Walla Valley -- slow day in school zones.

The speed limit in school zones when the yellow lights are flashing is 20 mph. Police officers and sheriff's deputies are patrolling the school zones and will issue tickets.

But avoiding a ticket is not the only reason to reduce your speed, nor is it the most important one.

Cautious driving in school zones is essential to keeping children from being injured. Kids are often distracted walking to and from school -- particularly when traveling in packs or focusing on their electronic devices.

Sure, the children should be paying attention and following the traffic rules, but -- kids being kids -- that doesn't always happen. An accident might occur that is not the driver's fault, but that is of little solace if a child is seriously injured or killed. Regardless of who is in the right, the adult involved will have to live with the consequences.

In addition to driving 20 mph or under, drivers should put away their cellphones. It is against the law to have a cellphone to your ear or to text while driving. It's against the law because it's dangerous. Studies show that cellphone use can be as dangerous as drinking and driving.

Yet, despite the danger, the cellphone law is too often ignored. People are in a hurry and like to multi-task.

Again, is saving a few seconds worth the life of a child?

Since 2009 five children on their way to school in Walla Walla were hit by cars. It was a wake-up call for the community. The local Safe Travels Alliance was formed in an effort to prevent accidents from happening.

The effort was a success last year. Let's keep moving forward -- but let's do it slowly and without yakking on a cellphone.

Comments

glevering1960 1 year, 7 months ago

While I agree slowing down is a good Idea, many other things other than cell phones contribute to the danger, For instance, at Berney many staff park along School Ave , Right up to the cross walk, both sides, When a child is approaching to cross they are not seen until the last moment, Or mistaken for a green turtle until its too late.The taxpayers have provided ample parking for Berney staff and in the interest of safety for our little ones I would think it would be mandatory to keep clear the school access. Another thing is in the Mile Long School zone around WA=HI and Prospect, The stop signs leaving the Gym parking lot have been conveiniently removed, It seems to be a free for all at the letting out of WA-HI at breakfast lunch and the end of school, no stopping , I have watched the Sherriff ignore this moving violation countless times, So instead of singling out cell phones look at the big real picture!

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Chas 1 year, 7 months ago

If there is no stop sign I don't believe they are required to stop. In good conditions, traffic is often safest when left moving on its own. Think how quickly the high school traffic is gone? Requiring every car to come to a complete stop is absurd and a waste of fuel. Avoid the areas or find a better strategy when you drive the areas at those times.

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