The Carson City School District and Board of Trustees are pleading for drivers in the Carson City area to take extra caution in school zones and around bus stops.
School officials are taking note of a rash of student vs. vehicle accidents reported in Washoe County, where more than two dozen students have been hit by cars since the first day of school less than four months ago.
The Carson City School District believes the increase of inattentiveness from both students and drivers might not only be isolated to Washoe County, but similar near-misses are being reported in Carson City also.
Cheri Fletcher, transportation department supervisor with the Carson City School District, said several of her bus drivers have reported drivers blowing through flashing red stop lights and signs when buses were stopped and dropping students off who were crossing streets.
“Our drivers are doing the best they can to ensure safety, but something needs to change among drivers in our community,” Fletcher said. “We need to see a cultural shift in the way people drive in school zones and around bus stops.”
In December 2018, the Carson City School District and Board of Trustees recognized bus driver Greg Hoeger with a certificate of merit for his immediate attention and awareness that helped save the life of a student passenger.
“We have some incredible individuals within our school district working in transportation and as crossing guards, and they are doing an amazing job ensuring the children get to and from school safely,” Richard Stokes, superintendent for the school district, said. “They are out there in the traffic, and it is really tough for them sometimes. So we are pleading with the driving members of our community to please operate their vehicles safely and be more alert.”
Stokes also said he has had some conversations with Sheriff Ken Furlong of the Carson City Sheriff’s Office, and they have indicated there will be a more hyper-focused effort to target drivers making poor decisions and those who are distracted.
Furlong said there has been an outcry from others about the conduct of both drivers and pedestrians. Much of the problem is people just not paying attention. Drivers and pedestrians are on their phones, snacking, not obeying lights and signs.
Additionally, the school district has offered the following safety tips for drivers:
Slow down. Speed likely might be the No. 1 contributor in most accidents.
Stay alert and free of all distractions. Put all cell phones, away and refrain from eating, drinking or adjusting the radio.
Make visual eye contact with pedestrians. Be prepared to stop at all marked crosswalks. Wave them across if you are stopped at a marked crosswalk.
Make sure windshields are clean, clear and unobstructed. Turn on headlights.
Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and at intersections. Be courteous to other drivers. Let another car back out of parking stalls or go before you.
Remain in your vehicle at all times in the dropoff and pickup lane.
Be aware of bicyclists and skateboarders whose approaches to crosswalks might be much swifter than those of pedestrians.
Come to a complete stop providing adequate distance if pedestrians are crossing or preparing to cross.
Never pass another vehicle that has stopped or is slowing down at a crosswalk.
Do not perform a U-turn within school zones.
penalties for common school-related traffic violations
It might be a jaw-dropping experience to read the ticket fee associated with traffic offenses in school zones, and rightly so. It should sting a little bit, officials said. It should be somewhat of a hardship to help thwart future infractions. With the looming possibility of seriously injuring, or worse, a student or beloved child in our community, below is a list of penalties and fines associated with common school-related traffic violations.
Failure to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk earns a $195 ticket and 4 demerit points on your driver’s license.
Performing a U-turn in a school zone might cost you upward of $115 and 3 demerits.
Using a cell phone while driving in a school zone or anywhere else could land you with a minimum $115 fine.
Speeding in excess of 10 miles per hour over the limit in marked school zones might fit you with a minimum $115 fine and as many as 2 demerit points.
Passing a school bus while the lights are flashing and the stopping arm is extended will cost you $250 on your first offense, $500 on the second and $1,000 on your third or subsequent violations with your driver’s license suspended for 6 months and 3 demerits for each offense.
Running a stop sign also could cost you as many as 4 demerits and a minimum $150 in traffic violation fees.
Exiting or entering a vehicle in an active lane of traffic might land you a $115 fine.
Parking unlawfully on the sidewalk, crosswalk, driveway or in a bike lane may cost $90 in parking fines.
Parallel parking more than 18 inches from the curb might cost as much as $115.
Parking in a handicapped zone or stall will cost a minimum of $355 in fines and court fees.