WHAT OTHERS SAY: Start of schools signals change in traffic patterns

Thursday, August 14, 2014 | 7:02 p.m. CDT

School terms and legislative sessions alter area traffic patterns.

Although motorists may be familiar with the variations in traffic volume and movement, the transitions deserve our attention.

August has not yet reached its mid-point, but many area public and parochial schools are beginning classes this week.

A new school year also means students will be walking, biking and boarding buses — creating activity on and around roadways that motorists haven’t seen or encountered in months.

Law enforcement agencies, ranging from Jefferson City police to the Missouri Highway Patrol, once again will be on alert and on patrol in an around school zones.

Motorists are encouraged to be vigilant not only during the morning drive, but also in the afternoon. According to the patrol, most of the 2013 traffic accidents involving drivers under age 21 occurred between 3-4 p.m., the time when the typical school day ends.

The patrol also emphasized the need for safety around school buses, noting 945 crashes involving school buses occurred in Missouri last year.

The patrol warned that motorists on two-lane roads must stop for school buses displaying warning signals. On four-lanes road, only motorists following the bus must stop.

Thanks to a state grant, the Jefferson City Police Department intends to deploy extra officer to enforce violations in school zones and bus routes.

The focal point of these efforts is not writing citations for motorists, it is ensuring safety for students.

Traffic patterns will be changing soon. We encourage motorists to make the adjustment by being attentive and alert during this time of transition.

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