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Back To School Traffic Safety

News Release from: Salem Police Dept.
Posted: September 2nd, 2012 2:25 PM

The Salem Police Department would like to remind drivers that the first day of public school in the Salem/Keizer area is Tuesday, September 4th, and to use extra caution when driving near schools.

The beginning of a new school year always brings excited and nervous students and parents alike. Drivers should expect to see a significant increase in foot, bicycle and vehicle traffic around schools.

Traffic delays and parking issues in our neighborhoods are common as parents drop off and pick up children at the schools. For those who are dropping off and/or picking up students, please remember to pull to the side of the road and park in legal parking spaces instead of stopping in the lane of traffic to wait in line at the school. Stopping in traffic creates hazards for other traffic that is trying to pass through the area, and reduces visibility for other vehicles and pedestrians as well. Also, it is important to remember to only let children out of the vehicle on the curb side of the vehicle instead of allowing them to get out of the vehicle on the side facing traffic.

Drivers should be cautious and slow down at all times around schools. The speed limit in schools zones when children are present is 20 mph, with traffic fines doubling in those zones when flashing school zone lights are activated. Even when school zone lights are not flashing, there is the potential for students to be in the area, as schedules may vary and there are often activities taking place in and around the schools after hours.

Parents with younger children who may be walking and/or biking to school should practice with their children to and from school ahead of time. Make sure children are aware of the proper and safest route to and from school, and take this opportunity to speak with them and teach them about safety while going to and from school. Explain "stranger danger" issues to children and be sure they know to never go with or get into a vehicle with a stranger and to immediately report scary incidents to a responsible adult as soon as possible.

Parents should be aware that younger children are unable to judge the closing speed of a vehicle that is approaching and thus discuss with their children the need to:
* Cross only at properly marked crosswalks
* Always comply with instructions from crossing guards
* Stop and look both ways before crossing the street
* Comply with traffic control devices
* Not dart out from between parked cars
* Wear brightly colored clothing

The Salem Police Department wishes everyone a safe and happy school year.

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