Police seek help from public in safer driving around schools

Sep 5, 2017 By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

Local police are asking motorists to use extra caution now that students have returned to school -- and to help police combat use of electronic devices while driving

"Watch the speed zones," Riverton Police Department Lt. Wes Romero said, adding, "We'll be putting up a little extra enforcement in the morning and afternoon throughout the year, any chance we can get."

Drivers also should look for school buses with stop signs out and red lights flashing. Cars coming from both directions are required to stop at that time, Romero said.

"And pay close attention to crosswalks," he continued.

Motorists are required to stop for pedestrians "getting ready" to cross the road.

Pedestrians on phones

The Wyoming Department of Transportation had an additional warning for drivers: Be on the lookout for pedestrians distracted by electronic devices.

Since 2013, the number of 12- to 19-year-old pedestrians killed has increased 13 percent, WYDOT said; during that same time frame, high-school-aged students were observed walking while distracted 35 percent more.

A Safe Kids Worldwide 2016 study showed one in four high-schoolers was distracted by texting, talking on the phone or listening to music with headphones while crossing the road near their school.

The study showed that distracted walking, along with other factors, led to only 20 percent of students crossing the street safely.

Eighty percent of students exhibited unsafe behavior including crossing against the lights, not looking before crossing and not crossing at a designated crossing, WYDOT said.

Drop off, pick up

Additionally, WYDOT continued, the study identified that nearly one in three drivers engaged in unsafe behavior while dropping off and picking up students, for example double parking, stopping in the middle of a crosswalk, or parking across the street from the drop-off lane or school.

One in 10 of those drivers was observed using a mobile device after dropping off a student, according to WYDOT.

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