Now that most of the schools in the Magic Valley are back in business, the Idaho State Police are warning drivers to slow down in School Zones.

Next week the last of Idaho's school children will be back in school and Idaho State Police along with local law enforcement agencies want to warn motorists of the danger that may be just around the corner as thousands of children travel to and from school each day.  ISP reminds motorists to slow down and take notice of speed limits in school zones and to watch for children everywhere as they wait at bus stops or walk or ride their bikes or scooters to school.

"Slow down," says Idaho State Police Lieutenant Chris Weadick, "It's the most obvious way to see what is going on around you and to give you time to react if a child steps into the road unexpectedly."

School-age children face greater risks due to their inexperience on roads and their excitement for the start of the school year.   This is why it is so important for motorists and students to be on the lookout for each other, especially during the first few weeks of school.

Last year 71 of the 218, or 42%, of Idaho pedestrians injured or killed in crashes were age 19 and younger.  Based on traffic data collected by the Idaho Transportation Department, 34 of those killed or injured involved children between the ages of 4 and 14.  According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 25 mph is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed as compared to a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling just 10 mph faster.

When approaching a school zone on days when school is in session a driver must:

  • Yield to any children or adults crossing in the crosswalk;
  • Reduce vehicle speed to the posted limit, which is typically 20 mph; speeding in a school zone could result in a $156.50 fine.

Reminder for Parents and Children

Remind your children to be sure to cross at intersections and crosswalks and to use traffic signals. Teach kids to look left, right and left again when crossing the street, and remind kids to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street and to watch out for cars turning or backing up.

Sharing the Road with School Buses

Think before passing a school bus. Saving a few extra minutes of drive time is not worth the life of a child.  Idaho law mandates that a driver must stop when meeting or passing a school bus in any direction and the visual signals of the bus are in operation. The driver cannot proceed until the bus resumes movement or the signals are turned off.

Drivers should know that Idaho State Police and other law enforcement will be strictly enforcing school zone speed limits and school bus passing violations during the entire school year.