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Thursday, Sep. 18, 2014

DPS ready to monitor school zones

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

SIKESTON -- As area students return to classrooms, law enforcement officers will hit the streets to ensure motorists slow down in school zones.

Sikeston students return to school Thursday and the Sikeston Department of Public Safety is planning on doing their part to slow down drivers in school zones.

"We want people to remember to be cautious in and around school zones and to obey all signs," said Drew Juden, director of the Sikeston Department of Public Safety. "Also we want to remind people to be cautious around school buses as well."

For the third consecutive year, Sikeston DPS will utilize the radar cart in school zones during the first week of school. Juden said the cart has had very good results in the past.

"You can sit and watch drivers come up on the radar cart and their wheels start turning and they start slowing down," Juden said.

"I think (the radar cart) has served as a good tool that reminds people to slow down in and around the school zones. It is easy to forget what the speed limit is after school has been out for a while. We are all creatures of habit and it takes us a while to get adjusted to the new speed limits."

Afternoons can be especially dangerous. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, most traffic crashes involving drivers under the age of 21 occur between 3 and 4 p.m. when school typically lets out.

Another peak time is at lunch, when traffic tends to be heavy. Students have a limited time during lunch which causes them to speed to and from where they are going.

School buses are also a cause for concern. Missouri law states that on a two-lane road, if a school bus is stopped and displaying warning signals while loading or unloading children, drivers must stop when meeting and following the bus.

However, it is only necessary to stop on a four-lane highway when following a bus. Anytime drivers see a school bus stopped they should be alert. Children may be unaware of traffic and dart unexpectedly into the roadway.

"Overall, most of the time, people are pretty good at watching out for buses and obeying the rules," Juden said. "We get very few complaints."