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Boreal Community Media

As school starts, Cook County Sheriff emphasizes safety

Sep 03, 2019 05:19AM ● By Editor

From Cook County Law Enforcement - September 2, 2019

Students will be going back to school soon and many will be getting there on foot or bike. The Safe Routes to School Committee (SRTS) works year-round to make it safer and easier for children to walk and bike to and from school. In the upcoming weeks, crosswalk repainting, Slow Down lawn signs, an additional speed feedback sign, and school zone speed and crosswalk enforcement will be at work to remind our community of the upcoming start of the school year and to drive carefully to keep students safe.

There are four different school zones located within Cook County, and we ask that all motorists use caution when approaching them during school hours. Besides the reduced speed limits in the school zones, there are other considerations to be aware of such as crosswalks, school bus pick-ups and drop-offs, students walking across parking lots, and students darting out in between parked vehicles. Tips to assist in the safety of school children include:

  • Be on the lookout for school zone signals and ALWAYS obey the speed limits.
  • When entering a school zone, be sure to slow down and obey all traffic laws.
  • Always stop for school busses that are loading or unloading children.
  • Watch out for school crossing guards and obey their signals.
  • Be aware of and watch out for children near schools, bus stops, sidewalks, in the streets, in school parking lots, etc.
  • Never pass other vehicles while driving in a school zone.
  • Never change lanes while driving in a school zone.
  • Never make U-Turns while driving in a school zone.
  • Never utilize your cell phone while driving in a school zone.

If your child will be walking to school, please review the following ideas for safety and preparation.

  • Always use public sidewalks and streets when walking to school.
  • Demonstrate traffic safety awareness, pick the safest route between your home and school, and practice walking it with your children.
  • Try and walk to school with other students. There is strength in numbers.
  • Teach your children to recognize and obey traffic signals, signs, and pavement markings.
  • Only cross streets at designated crosswalks, street corners and traffic-controlled intersections.
  • Always look both ways before crossing the street and never enter streets from between obstacles like parked cars, shrubbery, signs, etc.
  • Always walk and never run across intersections.
  • If a stranger does approach your child, make sure they know to immediately report the incident to you or a teacher.
  • Teach your children to never get into a vehicle with anyone, even if they know them, without your permission.

Safety tips for parents and children who utilize school buses include:

  • Make a habit of arriving at the bus stop at least five minutes before the scheduled arrival of the bus.
  • Make sure your child stays out of the street while waiting for the school bus.
  • Be sure the bus comes to a complete stop before getting on or off.
  • Make sure your child understands they must remain seated and keep their head and arms inside the bus at all times.
  • Do not shout or distract the driver.
  • Do not walk in the driver’s “blind spot” — this is the area from the front of the bus to about 10 feet in front of the bus.

From Back To School Safety. 2019,

For more information visit or contact Cook County Safe Routes to School Coordinator Andrea Orest at 218-387-2330.

County Connections is a column on timely topics and service information from your Cook County government. Cook County – Supporting Community Through Quality Public Service.