Watch out for the kids

Drivers need to pay close attention as children walk, bike to local schools


School is back in session this week throughout Edgar County. That means preschool age through high school students are out again in large numbers. Let’s make this a safe year by taking special care in school zones and crosswalks.

Our children are walking and biking to school and waiting for buses along community streets and country roads. We all must be vigilant to make sure all our children arrive safely at school and back home.

We’re just not talking about family vehicles. We’re also talking about watching carefully for school buses and their precious cargo. We all remember the story from Indiana about the siblings who were killed crossing to road to their school bus in the early morning. They were hit by a vehicle that passed the bus.

Talk to Michelle Ball of MSB Transportation and she’s quick to tell you stories of near misses and drivers who pass school buses when their stop arm is out — which is against the law.

That’s particularly important now that more preschool children are boarding buses. Our school districts work hard to insure the safety of our children but as comedian Ron White says, “You can’t fix stupid.”

Just this week we heard a scary story about a driver who disobeyed a crossing guard at a Paris school and almost caused a tragedy not just for the crossing guard but the children who were in the crosswalk. Thank goodness the Paris Police Department is now patroling those school zones.

There are other parts to this equation, though. More students biking and walking means more students on the sidewalks and streets over the next few months — at least until winter really sets in. With the sun coming up later every day, that will mean kids walking in less-than-ideal lighting conditions.

Schools take precautions to keep students out of harm’s way. They send out crossing guards and teach students about being safe on the way to school. But kids are still kids. They’re not always going to do exactly what they’re supposed to.

All of which means it’s time for drivers to be extra careful. You already shouldn’t be texting while driving. That’s doubly true now. Pay attention. Obey the speed limit. Watch for our children.

Let’s have an accident free school year.