New School Year Time for Caution

Classes have resumed for the fall at many area schools. That means motorists should be especially careful where children may be walking to or from school and around school buses.

Fortunately, police in West Virginia have a new tool in the ongoing fight against drivers who aren’t paying attention. It is the state’s new limits on use of cellular phones while operating motor vehicles.

During the first several days of public school classes, law enforcement officers at the municipal, county and state levels often step up activities near schools and to keep school bus passengers safe. On one morning this week, a motorcycle patrolman was observed using a handheld device to check the speed of vehicles in a 15 mph school zone.

Good. It may take a few days for some motorists to get back in the groove of slowing down in school zones, watching for stopped school buses and paying more attention to children running across streets and highways on their way to and from classes. But safety cannot be allowed to take a break for even a few minutes where children are involved. Officers safeguarding them should not hesitate to hand out tickets for traffic offenses.

That is particularly appropriate for those who continue to disobey the new restrictions on use of cell phones. Ignorance of those laws should be no excuse for those who endanger children by “texting” or even talking on cell phones in school zones.

Thank heaven, accidents in which school children are hurt are rare in our area. Let’s keep it that way.