NewsSafely at School


School Zone Safety: Keeping Kids Safe as they Go Back to School

Keeping Kids Safe as they Go Back to School
chesapeake school bus stop sign and camera.jpg
Posted at 6:00 AM, Aug 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-31 11:45:28-04

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - As a new school year gets underway, the roadways look a lot different. Yellow school buses, flashing school zone signs, and crossing guards fill the streets. It is vital that drivers are paying attention as another academic marking period begins all over Hampton Roads. According to data from Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles, the number of incidents during the last school year resulted in less than a passing grade.

“In the 2021-2022 school year in the Hampton Roads region, there were 115 crashes that occurred in school zones and of those 115 crashes, there were 59 injuries. There were also 10 crashes involving pedestrians, 5 with injuries,” explained Ryan Adcock, Public Relations and Community Outreach Specialist with AAA Tidewater Virginia.

We can do better.

Besides, speeding through school zones can be expensive. Driving at any speed higher than the posted limit can result in a ticket costing upwards of 250 dollars. You may also receive added fines for other infractions, such as reckless driving.

Additionally, car insurance rates are likely to go up if a speeding ticket comes your way. Some municipalities, like the City of Chesapeake, have reinforcements. Cameras have been posted in several school zones to zero in on speeding drivers.

Holly Dalby, who is a Member of Drive Safe Hampton Roads, reminds us, “School districts are getting those set up and ready for the fall season, so you could get hit with an even higher fine than you were expecting.”

Cameras have also been installed on school bus arms in a number of Hampton Roads districts, to include Hampton and Virginia Beach. Virginia Law states motorists must stop for stopped school buses with flashing red lights and an extended stop sign when approaching from any direction. Drivers must remain stopped until everyone is clear and the bus moves again. This includes multi-lane highways without a divider or median.

Law enforcement officers and uniformed school crossing guards are back at work too. They play an important role in providing safe passage to elementary, middle and high schools students. They are stationed at critical school locations to help buses move in and out as well to assist students as they cross the street by directing drivers to slow or stop. Paying attention to their direction is paramount and it is also the law.

Simply leaving the house a little early in the morning helps minimize any possible frustration or delay. Mornings also mean bus stops. Be on the lookout for children gathering at designated locations in your neighborhood waiting for the big yellow school bus to pick them up, often before the sun comes up.

Dr. Michelle Ferebee, Principal of Deep Creek Elementary School, reminds us, “It’s a change of season now; we were in summer. Now, we’re going back into that school season, so young scholars are really depending on drivers to be safe, cognizant, and mindful because things are shifting and changing.”

This is such an exciting, yet stressful, time of year for our children. The least we can do is our part to keep them safe on the roadways.