Back to school: SC Highway Patrol stepping up patrols in Midlands school zones

Back to school: SC Highway Patrol stepping up patrols in Midlands school zones

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) -As students begin heading back to the classrooms, that also means more traffic on your morning commute. South Carolina Highway Patrol will be increasing patrols in Midlands school zones to help make sure drivers and students make it to their destinations safely.

SCHP Trooper David Jones says drivers may have gotten used to driving to work over the last few summer months without any school traffic, but now it’s back to having the roads full of school buses and more pedestrians with students walking to school. Plus, all drivers will face slower speed limits in school zones.

SCHP says the best course of action is to limit your distractions and take it slowly. Troopers say they often see more accidents on the roads once classes resume after the summer break.

State troopers have been assigned to specific school zones and will be on the lookout for speeders.

Officials say every year there still seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding when drivers should and should not stop for a stopped school bus.

“If you’re on a four-lane road, like US1, and you’re behind the bus, you stop at that point. Oncoming traffic doesn’t have to stop on a four-lane road, but on a two-lane road, traffic both directions have to stop. So, keep that in mind. Always drive on the urge of caution. If you’re ever in question go ahead and stop,” Trooper Jones said.

He said not stopping could be an expensive mistake and that, “There is going to be no excuse and no exception, if you pass a stopped school bus we’re going to stop you and we’re going to write you a ticket and you’re looking at six points and $1,000 at that point. So, don’t make that poor decision. In today’s world, a lot of these buses are equipped with cameras that capture the violation, as well as the driver’s face and the tag number. So, it makes it easy for us to get that video and go make that charge at a later date.”

Officials say it’s also a good idea for parents to talk to students about ways they can stay safe on their walk to class. They say avoid walking in the roadway and use sidewalks, if possible. Also, no distracted walking because sometimes wearing headphones will keep you from being able to hear a car that’s approaching.

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