By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
Garfield County Sheriff Jerry Niles is encouraging county residents to be more aware and safer on the roads as county schools return to session.
Most county schools that did not begin Wednesday begin today, and motorists need to be aware of those students returning to classes in the morning and, in turn, returning home in the afternoons.
“They need to be slowing down in school zones and if they see children walking on the roadway, be aware they may not be paying attention to the motoring public,” Niles said. “With the weather as nice as it is, we have a lot of children walking to and from school.”
Niles said county towns will have their police forces out as students return to class, and deputies will be monitoring schools, as well.
“We’ll have officers out checking everyone is safe,” he said.
The sheriff had tips for students and motorists alike to avoid any incidents on the roads near schools.
“Motorists need to make sure they have their headlights on in the morning, especially if it is before sunrise,” he said. “Having your headlights on is an extra measure of safety.”
Niles said children should be walking against traffic, but riding bicycles with traffic.
“The best thing is to walk on the side and out of the flow of traffic,” Niles said. He said if a sidewalk is available on a road, pedestrians need to be using it.
“If they are walking on a street with no sidewalks, they need to walk on the easement,” he said.
Niles also warned motorists there are higher penalties for traffic infractions committed in school zones, just like construction zones.
“That’s not only for speeding infractions,” he said. “That’s for any infraction that occurs in those zones.”
He also reminded motorists they are required to stop for buses that are loading or unloading students, and that have their stop signs extended and red lights flashing.
“Anything that appears suspicious, please report that to your local law enforcement agency,” he said.