Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Tue, Oct. 22

Back to school means children and buses on the road

Courier/Les Stukenberg
According to state law, vehicles must stop until all pedestrians  are clear in all yellow crosswalks near schools. This intersection is near Taylor Hicks Elementary School in Prescott

Courier/Les Stukenberg According to state law, vehicles must stop until all pedestrians are clear in all yellow crosswalks near schools. This intersection is near Taylor Hicks Elementary School in Prescott

School started Monday and with the beginning of the school year come a few extra rules for drivers.

Sgt. Ken Morley from the Prescott Police Department offered a few tips to help keep students safe.

• Follow the rules posted on signs, even if children aren't visible or if school hasn't started for the day. Some schools run programs that begin before the academic day begins, such as breakfast, sports or early classes.

• Slow to 15 miles per hour before entering the school zone. Signs posted near schools note the points at which cars should be traveling at 15 miles per hour.

• If pedestrians are in the crosswalk, drivers must wait until pedestrians completely clear the side of the street where the driver's car is.

• Law prohibits drivers in school zones from passing other cars, even if the other cars are stopped.

Morley said the police department increases its patrol officers in school zones during the first part of the school year.

Also, volunteer Citizens On Patrol station themselves near school zones and can report violators to the police.

"There is no tolerance for school zone violators," Morley said.

The police also would appreciate patience and extra caution on Ruth Street near Prescott High School, Morley said, where construction continues.

"The majority of people are very good about using caution and obeying the signs" near schools, he added.

The Arizona Motor Vehicle Division Customer Service Guide states that drivers must stop when approaching a school bus that is dropping off or picking up passengers, regardless of which direction the driver is traveling.

School buses will have flashing lights and an extended mechanical stop sign arm when they are picking up or dropping off passengers and drivers must remain stopped until the bus moves ahead or until the bus driver has turned off the flashing lights and retracted the stop sign arm.

Although bus drivers encourage their passengers to cross the street in front of the bus, the MVD Guide states that drivers should watch for children crossing behind the bus.

Drivers do not have to stop for a school bus on a divided roadway.

"A divided roadway is one in which the road is separated by physical barriers such as a fence, curbing or separation of the pavement. Roadway striping by itself does not constitute a physical separation of the roadway," the Guide states.

Contact the reporter at hdartt@prescottaz.com

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