School zones will have a strong focus by Mt. Juliet police officers as students in Wilson County head back to school. Officers will be focusing on motorists who disregard laws designed to protect children in school zones and will be providing 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 be focusing on handheld cell phone use in school zones, school bus stop-arm, texting while driving, seat belt, and child passenger safety laws.
Last week, Chief James Hambrick also spoke to Wilson County’s school crossing guards and expressed support for all the hard, very important work they do to keep students safe. 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 been deployed to school zones to also 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/.
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.