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Editorials

Careful driving is a must now that classes are in session

Parents everywhere have begun taking pictures of their children, backpacks slung over their shoulders before they head out for their first day of school, and posting them on social media.

Most of the area’s public school districts – including in DeKalb, Sycamore, Genoa-Kingston, Sandwich, Indian Creek, Hiawatha and Somonauk – begin classes this week, and by the middle of next week, classes will be in session about everywhere.

It’s important that drivers and students use caution as everyone readjusts to the morning and afternoon routine.

Children once again will be walking or riding bicycles and scooters across neighborhood streets on their way to school, and waiting at bus stops.

Buses will be making the rounds, stopping to pick up or drop off students. When a school bus is stopped on a two-lane road, with the stop arm extended, traffic in both directions must stop. Drivers convicted of passing a stopped school bus can be fined $150 for a first offense, along with a three-month driver’s license suspension. Also remember that school buses must stop at all at-grade railroad crossings.

When the school day is beginning or ending, reduced speed limits in school zones again will be in effect. In most areas, the speed limit in a school zone is 20 mph when children are present. The fine for speeding in a school zone is $150 for the first offense. It also is illegal to use a cell phone in a school zone, and even using hands-free devices is discouraged.

Even if your daily route doesn’t take you directly through a school zone, morning and afternoon commuters should be particularly aware when they are driving on local roads at times when children are heading to or from school.

Children are more likely than adults to absent-mindedly run into the street without looking where they are going. They can be difficult to see, too, especially if there are vehicles parked along the street.

Of course, everything will work best if children respect traffic and drivers remember to slow down when school is soon to start or has just ended.

Here’s to a great new school year. Hard to believe how big everyone’s kids on social media are getting.

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