Lexington Police increasing enforcement in school zones during three-week campaign

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 6:45 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - For the next three weeks, Lexington residents will be seeing more officers in school zones both in the mornings and at dismissal time.

Lexington Police Department is working on a three-week enforcement campaign that focuses on speeding, crosswalk safety, stop signs, and violations that are contributing to collisions in the town.

Corporal Grady Johnson, the supervisor of LPD’s Traffic Safety Unit, said in the first month of school, LPD has seen too many instances of distracted driving that put students at risk.

“Lately we’ve been noticing an uptick in distracted drivers, and just speeders in our school zones,” he said. “And it’s our overall goal to keep the students, parents, and our staff who often direct traffic safe.”

According to LPD, in a typical month, its officers will issue around 700 citations and 300 warnings. Corporal Johnson has seen a number of violations in the early days of the program.

“We’ve had driving under the influence violations, drug drivers in the school zones, people with drugs in the car, driving without driver’s licenses, driving without seatbelts,” he said.

To this end, LPD is reminding drivers to look out for school zones and reduce their speed.

“Most of the school zones here in the town of Lexington will have flashing lights to indicate the hazard of the school zone and that the speed limit is reduced, indicating the reduced speed,” he said. “In those school zones, we just ask people to reduce their speed and to be cautious, be looking for the pedestrians, the children and it’s going to be heavy traffic.”

In most places, the speed limit is reduced to 25 miles per hour. On Ginny Lane near the Meadow Glen schools, that speed limit is reduced to 30 miles per hour during school zone hours

When school buses are loading or unloading on two-lane roads, you must not pass in either direction.

On a four-lane road, you may pass, but only if you’re driving in the opposite direction and there’s a divided median.

“The thing that I suggest that everyone do is drive defensively,” Corporal Johnson said. “Be aware. Be aware of your surroundings, be aware of your environment, be aware of the school zones, look for that child that’s not paying attention next to the road.”

Crossing guards and officers are also in danger when motorists speed through school zones.

“In all of our school zones we have officers or civilian crossing guards there to assist cars, traffic, and pedestrians to cross the streets,” Corporal Johnson said. “We’ve had several near misses during inclement weather, foggy mornings where people are just driving too fast for the conditions to pay attention and realize what’s going on.”

LPD said that over 100,000 vehicles travel through Lexington each day. On North Lake Drive near Lexington Middle School, around 3,500 vehicles pass through during morning school zone hours, and 7,500 during afternoon hours.

Due to this high volume of traffic, LPD said they can’t “ticket their way out of the problem.” The department needs everyone to do their part to slow down, be alert and ensure school zones are safe for all.

The enforcement campaign will run until Friday, October 8. It focuses on the following school zones: Lexington Middle and Elementary School, Meadow Glen Elementary and Middle School, New Providence Elementary, River Bluff High and Rosenwald Community Learning Center.

LPD directs those looking for more information about the campaign to its Twitter and Facebook pages.

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