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School is back in session in Clark County, so drive accordingly

Updated August 8, 2022 - 10:51 am

School is back in session in Clark County, which means school zones and droves of children returning to class across the valley.

Motorists shouldn’t groan at the notion that their morning commute will again be affected by the reduced speed zones and general traffic around schools. They should plan ahead and exercise patience, according to Michael Naft, Clark County commissioner and traffic safety advocate.

“We can’t take for granted the return of school and the impact of that on our roadway systems,” he said. “Give a little bit of extra time knowing that there are people going to schools they may have never been to before. There are kids on the streets and their bikes who might not be as experienced as we are navigating the road system.”

Naft will be handing helmets out to students and emphasizing traffic safety between 8:15 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. on Monday at Jydstrup Elementary School.

Keeping kids safe should be a priority for everyone, even those without children. So, the next time you’re in a school zone and are in a rush, consider whether those extra few seconds you gain for speeding are worth the chance of injuring a child.

“Just be extra patient and diligent about looking for little ones who might be the most vulnerable,” Naft said.

Here are the laws all motorists must follow while traveling through a school zone, per Clark County School District police:

Don’t speed

Drivers should always obey the posted speed limit in an active school zone. Those are usually 15 mph or 25 mph.

No passing

Motorists aren’t allowed to pass stopped or slower moving vehicles in an active school zone. There have been fatal crashes in the Las Vegas Valley because of this problem. Don’t be the next one to cause such a tragedy.

No U-Turns

U-turns aren’t allowed in an active school zone. Motorists must travel through the entire school zone and turn around at a legal spot.

Yield to a stopped bus

Drivers are required to stop for school buses when students are boarding or departing while the bus’s red flashing lights are active. If traveling on a divided road with a raised median, then traffic on the opposite side of the street does not need to stop. But even in that case, use caution and be mindful of children.

Parents dropping their kids off at school should remember the following:

Don’t stop in a travel lane

Stopping your vehicle in a travel lane to let your kids out is illegal. All schools have designated drop-off points. Use those or pull to the side of the road where it’s safe to let your child out.

No-parking areas

Motorists aren’t allowed to park within 30 feet of a traffic signal, 20 feet of a crosswalk, 15 feet of a fire hydrant, or 5 feet from a public or private driveway. As always, parking in a marked fire lane is not permitted.

Don’t block a sidewalk

Motorists cannot block a sidewalk or crosswalk. Use your best judgment when in traffic congestion around schools to ensure you don’t block either of the two.

Naft said it’s a good idea for all motorists to revisit the laws ahead of a new school year to ensure they’re up to date on the latest regulations.

“Be cognizant that the rules aren’t the same in school zones,” he said. “School zones are more than just flashing lights and crosswalks. They’re designated areas where we want to provide the most safety possible for our vulnerable students.”

Aside from being dangerous, if you break a traffic law within a school zone, the fine associated with that offense is doubled. So do as school police suggest: Follow the rules and avoid a citation.

“The advice is free, citations aren’t,” they wrote in a Facebook post.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter. Send questions and comments to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com.

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