The public schools in Teton County are reconvening this week and next week and all motorists, parents, teenage drivers and pedestrians need to brush up on their “back-to-school” safety and driving skills.
When school is back in session, children will be routinely walking across Choteau, Fairfield, Dutton and Power to get to the school grounds in the morning and will be walking the reverse path as they return home in the mid afternoon. Motorists need to refamiliarize themselves with the reduced speed limits (15 m.p.h.) in school zones and be prepared to stop at intersections to allow children (who may not be paying attention) to safely cross. Drivers in rural areas are reminded that school speed zones are now in place at the Bynum, Golden Ridge and Greenfield elementary schools.
Drivers should also remember that the playgrounds will be teeming with children at recess and should take special care when driving past school buildings.
Parents whose teenage children are driving themselves or their siblings to school need to sit down and talk about safety issues with these young drivers.
One of the key elements of safety for young drivers is to arise in the morning in a timely manner so the drive to school is not a hasty dash to beat the tardy bell. Every year, Teton County deputies cite several teenage drivers for making bad school-bus passes and for speeding on their way to school.
Parents of Choteau High School students are reminded to talk to their young drivers about obeying the stop sign at the intersection of Seventh Avenue Northwest and Third Street Northwest. Dozens of elementary students walk through that intersection before and after school, and teenage drivers need to take special care there to avoid any of the little kids whose attention and caution might leave something to be desired.
All drivers also need to brush up on their school bus/traffic rules. Remember, a bus displaying flashing amber lights is slowing to take on or let off children.
A bus displaying flashing red lights is stopped, allowing children to get on or off. School buses with either amber or red flashing lights cannot be passed.
Cars should follow at a safe distance and allow the bus to resume its route before attempting to pass.
Cars should come to a complete stop in their driving lane while buses are letting children on or off. Parents who plan to allow their children to walk or ride bicycles to school should review the route for young children and should go over reminders to stop at intersections, to look both ways, to walk bicycles across streets, to wear bicycle helmets and never to dart out into the street from between parked cars.