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August 08 09:49 AM

Motorists reminded of school zone safety

As the new school year begins in Bossier Parish this year, the Bossier Sheriff’s Office is encouraging all motorists to be mindful of school zones and school bus safety.

With safety of children a primary concern for the Bossier Sheriff’s Office, patrol deputies will be out and about monitoring school zones in the parish to ensure motorists 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 might 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 fourlane 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 textbased 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.

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