The new school year for public schools in Helena begins August 29 and law enforcement are reminding people to slow down and be alert in school zones.
“Specifically for the first week of school, we’re going to have a lot of kids. They’re probably not going to be paying as close of attention to traffic around them as they normally would,” said Helena Police Officer Meggin Stewart.
People should expect increased patrols around schools for for the first couple weeks of classes and posted speeds will be strictly enforced.
Stewart wants the public to know the reason for the strict enforcement isn’t to make money on tickets, but to ensure the safety of children and other pedestrians in school zones.
Parents are also encouraged to learn and use the child drop-off locations at each school.
“It helps avoid extra traffic and it helps make it safer for the kids as well,” said Stewart.
The Montana Department of Transportation recommends using the first week of school to remind children about safe traffic safety when walking or biking to school.
Drivers and pedestrians alike should be attentive, share the road, and obey all traffic laws.
Children should be visible, cross the street only at crosswalks and intersections, and look left, right, and left again before crossing the street.
MDT also warns motorists to avoid avoid distractions while driving and watch for bicyclists, pedestrians, and children especially at intersections, bus stops, and school zones.
If possible, parents are encouraged to walk or bike with their child if they are attending a new school this year.
East Helena drivers should also be aware of increased vehicle and pedestrian traffic on Valley Drive, because of students attending the new Prickly Pear Elementary.