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Norman, Cleveland County authorities remind drivers to be safe

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Lots of kiddos are heading back to school this time of year, and Norman Public Schools resumes Wednesday. Here’s some information from the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office.

The summer is over for children in Cleveland County as they head back to class and begin a new school year.

Cleveland County sheriff’s deputies encourage everyone to slow down in and around school zones and obey all traffic laws. Students will be walking or driving to school.

Beginning this week, deputies will kick off “Operation Back to School Safely” in the areas of Lexington and Noble Public Schools and Robin Hill Public School. The program focuses on school traffic safety.

Deputies are patrolling school zones throughout the day. Officers will strictly enforce the law. Motorists caught speeding or driving recklessly will be stopped and cited.

Sheriff Joe Lester said drivers should be alert for children around schools, especially pedestrians crossing roads in school zones.

“Please be careful as children walk to class and leave school each day,” Lester said. “Deputies will put an extra emphasis on school zones to remind the public that school is back in session and watch out for kids.”

Any questions regarding this press release and/or information can be addressed to Meghan McCormick, Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office, community liaison/public information officer. McCormick can be reached at (405) 701-8847.

And more from the Norman Police Department:

Norman Public Schools resume classes on Wednesday, August 22, and the Norman Police Department encourages citizens to slow down around schools and watch for pedestrians and bicyclists. This year, there is one new school zone. With Reagan Elementary opening on 24th Ave SE, expect additional patrol officers in the area to help remind drivers of this new school zone. Another school zone, added at the end of last school year, is for a private school located on 36th Ave SE. Citations for school zones violations carry a $200 fine, plus additional court costs. As always, Norman Police Officers will be watching schools zones to ensure compliance and the safety of our young citizens.

Motorists should also watch for school busses stopped for loading or unloading with their flashing red lights activated. Driving in either direction past a stopped school bus with the red lights activated is unlawful, and is extremely dangerous to children who are boarding or leaving the bus. Disregarding a school bus signal may carry the maximum sentence from Norman’s Municipal Court—a $750 fine and/or 60 days in jail.

Now is also a good time for parents to review traffic and personal safety basics with their young students. Remind your children to:

• Always walk on sidewalks when they are available, or if there is no sidewalk, on the shoulder or roadway edge facing traffic. Cross the street only at the corner or at a marked crosswalk. Look both ways before crossing, and avoid crossing the street from between parked vehicles, as the parked cars may block the motorist’s and the child’s view of each other.

• If children ride their bikes to school, parents should remind them that they are subject to the same traffic laws as a motor vehicle, including riding with traffic on the right side of the roadway, as near the right edge as possible. All bicyclists younger than 18 years of age are required to wear an approved bicycle helmet. Now would also be a good time to inspect bicycles to ensure that the brakes, tires, and other essential equipment are properly adjusted and in good repair.

• If a child will walk or bike to a new school this year, the parent should accompany the child the first time or during the weekend prior to the first day. Ensure that the child knows the way, and the parent may detect potential hazards that the child may not recognize.

• Remind children of the dangers of approaching or going with a stranger, regardless of the reason given. Parents who drive their children to school should drop off and pick up only at the locations designated by their child’s school. Parents who fail to do so may endanger their child and cause traffic.

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Carrie Coppernoll

Carrie Coppernoll is a columnist and reporter. She was named the top personal columnist in Oklahoma in 2009 and 2010 by the Associated Press and Association of Newspaper Editors. She was also named the 2008 Journalist of the Year by the Oklahoma... Read more ›