Sat Aug 01 04:56:12 PDT 2015
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Early Co. Sheriff's Office Urges Drivers to Use Caution in School Zones
Ashton Wright

If these lights are flashing ... “Slow down and pay attention.” According to AAA, the most dangerous time for school zones is the after school period between 3:00 and 4:00. That’s because more than half of drivers travel faster than the posted 25-mile-per hour speed limit, but the Early County Sheriff's Department is prepared. “Every morning we have deputies at the high school school zone as well as the elementary,” said Capt. Randall English. There is a tunnel under the road between the high school and middle school that students are encouraged to use, but Patrol Captain Randall English says not everyone does. “Some of them choose to cross at the crossing guard which is not a real good idea considering the traffic that we have in the school zone.” A National School Bus Loading and Unloading Survey shows that in the 2012-2013 school year, nine children were killed while a bus was loading or unloading. One of those deaths happened in Georgia. “Vehicles need to be stopping at the school bus stop signs when they're loading and unloading kids,” said Capt. English It is illegal to pass a school bus that is loading or unloading students. Drivers on both sides of the road are also required to stop. “Be aware of your surroundings.” It takes the average driver one-fourth of a second to identify a road hazard, one-fourth of second for the brain to process the info and another one-fourth of a second to decide what to do. If you're driving 30 miles-per-hour, you'll need 104 feet to come to a complete stop, but that's only if you're not distracted. So imagine you look down for three seconds to send a text message. Now the amount of time you need to stop is more than 200 feet. “It's all about paying attention to your surroundings,” English said. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a person hit by a vehicle traveling 20 miles-per-hour has a 90-to-95 percent chance of survival. Speed up to 40 miles-per-hour and that chance drops to 5 percent. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, drivers often violate stop sign rules in school zones. 45 percent don't come to a complete stop and 7 percent don't slow down at all.

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