BSO offers school zone safety tips

By Nikki Henderson |

Published 08/05 2014 02:34PM

Updated 08/05 2014 02:38PM

The Bossier Sheriff's Office wants you to be mindful of school zones and school bus safety as the school year begins Thursday.  

Patrol deputies will be out and about monitoring school zones in the parish to ensure drivers are being safe and are in compliance with the law.

Here are a few safety tips and legal reminders as the school year begins in Bossier Parish:

  • It is important to allow yourself more time to get to work as traffic may be a little more congested due to school zones and buses picking up children for school. 
  • Please remember school buses make frequent stops to pick up children.
  • School buses stop at all railroad crossings.
  • All vehicles must stop no less than 30 feet from a school bus that is loading or unloading children whether you are meeting the bus or traveling behind the bus.  When a school bus is stopped in opposite lanes on a roadway separated by a ditch, grassy median, elevated concrete barrier or any obstacle that prevents traffic from driving thereon, you are not required to stop.  Drivers must stop for a stopped school bus when traveling on four lane or five lane roadways which are not separated by any barriers.  You must not proceed until the bus moves again or the visual warning signals are no longer activated.
  • Pay attention to the school zone speed limits.
  • Be mindful of children crossing the street where school crossing guards are located.

A new law regarding cell phone use and school zones was enacted Aug. 1 in Louisiana which prohibits motorists from using any type of hand-held wireless communications device while traveling through school zones during posted hours. 

The law includes use of cellular/wireless devices for engaging in a voice call, accessing, reading, or posting to a social networking site, and/or writing, sending, or reading a text-based communication.  The school zone cell phone ban does not apply if the device is being used to report an emergency, is being used in a hands-free manner, or while the vehicle is lawfully parked. 

Upon first violation of the school zone ban the fine is $175, subsequent violations can be up to $500, and if a crash occurs during the time of the violation, fines could be increased.

Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington said, "We encourage all motorists to slow it down in school zones and be watchful of children walking to bus stops and gathering for pickup and drop-off.  We are looking forward to another great school year, and that starts with motorists being mindful of school zones and school buses carrying our children.  Our deputies will be paying close attention to school zones and the safe operation of vehicles throughout Bossier Parish near these schools."

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