Drive safely, schools are open in city, county

Published 8:53 am Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Monday marked the first day of school in Elizabethton and Carter County, and that means school children out and about, and more traffic in the morning and afternoon.
Nothing symbolizes the start of a new school year like the sudden presence of those big yellow buses navigating the city streets and backroads and hollows in the county.
School buses can be encountered almost anywhere, so for safety’s sake, motorists need to be aware that their usual routes each morning and mid afternoon may be altered. What’s most important is that rules of the road must always be followed when a school bus is making its rounds. When the stop arm is out on a bus, all traffic must stop. Disobeying the law as it governs school buses is a serious matter. The safety of children is paramount.
In addition to the bus traffic, there will be considerably more traffic around schools, especially high schools. Be aware of your surroundings. Children will be crossing streets or walking between cars. Slow down and take precautions in school areas.
Care also should be used even outside the limits of school zone signs. Not everyone rides a school bus, and drivers should be alert to the presence of young pedestrians making their way to and from school.
Vehicle traffic also will pick up near area high schools as young drivers pull into and out of parking lots.
Historically, the issues have been limiting speed and being aware of your surroundings when you’re around schools. These days, what’s even more important is eliminating the distractions — a cellphone, a tablet or whatever the case might be.
Most people know not to drive and drink, Using a cellphone should be seen in the same light. It has the same consequences. When you are using a cellphone, you’re not paying attention, you’re impaired, and your reaction time is slower. This year if you are caught having a cellphone in your hand while driving through a school zone, it could result in a $50 fine as a result of new state law that took effect Jan. 1.
With that out of the way, we want to wish all the students — those excited to get back in the classroom and those mourning the end of their summer vacation — success over the coming months.
We also want to acknowledge the task teachers accept with each academic year as they try to prepare their young charges for the next step along the educational ladder or life in the working world.
Parents have a huge role to play, too, and their participation can determine just how successful the students and teachers will be between now and next spring.
If everyone does their part, we can keep our community’s children safe and on the proper learning curve.
Now, it’s back-to-school time.

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