Sharp County Deputy and Highland School Resource Officer Steve Chism said slowing down in the school zone should be priority number one. Each year, police officers are forced to cite motorists who do not take the time to slow down through the 25 mile per hour zones, Highland has a flashing light as a reminder, but Highland Police officers still write dozens of tickets to driver's who blatantly disobey the speed zone. Yellow caution lights are displayed on school zone signs from 7 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., as well as from 2:45 p.m. to 4 p.m. Chism added that Rebel Drive, which runs behind the three schools, is a one way road from 7:15 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. on weekdays. Drivers should be aware of this area, to avoid accidents.
Passing a school bus with its red stop signals or crossing arm engaged is strictly prohibited. Those caught making an illegal pass will receive a costly ticket, to make them remember the danger students face when crossing or exiting a school bus. Chism stressed the law not to pass a school bus taking on or letting out passesngers is also in effect in parking lots as well as highways. When the situation is encountered by motorists on the four lane, all four lanes of traffic must stop with the bus to allow for the exit or entry of passengers. Traffic can proceed, only after the bus has turned off its red light and closed its crossing arm.
Chism also reminded motorists of a new law that went into effect last year. Cell phone use is strictly prohibited in a school zone when children are present. The law was designed to further protect children from distracted driving that is often caused by cell phone use.
Chism said he is excited about the new school year, and reminded motorists that state and local law enforcement will be strictly enforcing school traffic laws in the school zones. Motorists are encouraged to take extra precautions in school zones, especially during the first weeks of school when new drivers may be present.
Highland School District begin classes Aug. 20.