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Schools will be opening soon, drive carefully

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014 9:40 p.m. CDT

MORRIS – Morris Police Chief Brent Dite is reminding motorists that schools will soon be in session.

"An important detail that motorists need to be aware of is that start times to our local schools are staggered," Dite said in a news release. "With the staggered schedules, depending on the school, children could be on their way to school anytime between 7:30 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. Additionally, the end of the school day for our area schools range from 2:43 p.m. until 3:35 p.m."

Dite is asking motorists to place a focus not only on pedestrian safety but school bus safety.

"Motorists can help protect children by being especially careful near schools and bus stops where children congregate," he said in the release. "Safe driving can be accomplished by obeying speed zones, and by following directions given by school crossing guards."

Passing a stopped school bus can result in more than just a traffic fine. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one-fifth of all children 14 years of age and younger who die in motor vehicle crashes are pedestrians. These pedestrian fatalities are more likely to happen in the afternoon hours, when school is letting out.

Studies show that more than one-third of motorists in school zones or neighborhoods just “roll through” intersections with a stop sign, according to the release.

"Please slowdown in or near school and residential areas, and be sure to come to a complete stop in all intersections," Dite said.

Patrol officers will be assigned to high traffic areas around all the schools, with a primary focus on school hours where school zone violations and the passing of school buses will be strictly enforced.

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