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Drivers Reminded To Be Cautious As North Lawrence Students Return To School
Updated August 13, 2015 5:17 AM
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(BEDFORD) - As North Lawrence Community School students return to school this morning, Bedford Police Chief Dennis Parsley and Lawrence County Sheriff Mike Branham and North Lawrence Transportation Director Darren Wagoner are reminding drivers to be more alert and aware near schools, bus stops and places where children may walk or bicycle to or from school.

"More children are going to be on sidewalks and at the ends of driveways waiting to board buses in the morning or getting off buses after school," says Chief Parsley. "Drivers need to slow down and be extra alert as they adjust to these new late summer conditions in which children are closer to streets."

Children may be especially likely to wander into streets in neighborhoods that don't have sidewalks, Sheriff Branham added. He stressed that children aren't good at judging vehicle speeds and therefore may attempt to cross streets too close to oncoming vehicles.

Wagoner says children listening to music from earphones may not be able to hear approaching vehicles, and also that children may become less aware of their surroundings when playing games on hand-held electronic devices.

"A good idea at this time of year is to leave early for work, morning appointments or errands so you won't feel rushed as more kids and school buses appear on your normal route," Branham added. "Impatient or distracted drivers put children at risk."

When it comes to school buses, Indiana law is quite clear, says Chief Parsley.

"When a bus has its red lights flashing and stop arm extended, drivers coming from either direction must come to a full stop, and should not pass the bus until the warning lights are turned off and the stop arm is retracted," he added.

On roadways divided by a physical barrier, only drivers heading in the same direction as a bus must stop. However, drivers should be alert and cautious at all times when school buses are on the road.

Sheriff Branham noted that in addition to being alert near neighborhood bus stops and in school zones, drivers also need to be cautious on more remote rural roads, where children also get on and off buses.

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