The streets outside a school can be an extremely dangerous area for children, who may be distracted while talking with friends and not aware of oncoming traffic. At the same time, motorists may be distracted and not realize they are approaching a school crossing.
While in or near a school zone, motorists need to:
- Drive no faster than 20 miles per hour.
- Remember that school zones are non-passing zones.
- Drop children off on school property not on the street.
- Look between parked cars and other objects for children who could dart into the road.
- Walk around your vehicle before moving it especially during morning and afternoon hours.
- When backing up check all around you not just in the rearview mirror and when the coast is clear drive slowly.
- Obey the crossing guard at all school crossings and not proceed through the crosswalk until the children and the crossing guard have cleared the roadway.
Remember that children are less able to judge the distance and speed of oncoming vehicles and are less visible to motorists because of their smaller size. When you approach a crosswalk, stop short of the intersection to allow other motorists to see those little pedestrians. Also, drive with caution around kids on bicycles, who may ride erratically and be unfamiliar with traffic laws.
During the first week in September, the Portland Police Bureau and Gang Enforcement Team provided a highly visible police presence in and around schools in several Portland Public School Districts. Dozens of officers including Photo Radar Units were there to enforce traffic laws, to reduce the number of crashes and create a safe environment for students returning to school.