Ashkum – Illinois State Police (ISP) District 21 Commander, Captain Darryl Bogard, would like to remind motorists that area schools have opened their doors and started the new school year. The start of the school year means an increase in pedestrian and vehicular traffic around schools.

Motorists need to be watchful for children walking and riding their bike to school and children darting out from between parked cars.  Motorists also need to be on the lookout for slowing and stopped school buses.  As parents drop off their children before school and pick them up after school, there will also be an increase in vehicle traffic during the morning and evening commute.  Extra travel time should be planned to allow for the increase in traffic.

Motorists are reminded to watch their speed in school zones and limit their distractions.  The speed limit in school zones is 20 mph and is in effect from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm when children are present. Motorists should refrain from talking on cell phones in a school zone and are reminded that it is illegal to text while driving.  

Motorists approaching a stopped school bus with lights activated and sign extended must stop their vehicle before reaching the school bus.  Failure to do so can result in a $150 fine and the suspension of your driver’s license for three months. Also remember that pedestrians have the right-of-way in a crosswalk.

“As children prepare to return to school, motorists are encouraged to be aware of the increase in traffic including cars, school buses, bicyclists and pedestrians.  It is extremely important that motorists remain aware of their surroundings and take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of these children as well as fellow motorists.  Motorists are also reminded to avoid speeding and distracted driving violations which can lead to incident and injury,” said Captain Bogard.