SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – South Carolina Highway Patrol is asking drivers to be more mindful of people walking in or near school zones after two Upstate students were hit by cars in a three-day span.
“With pedestrian injuries, they are preventable,” said Penny Shaw, the program coordinator for Safe Kids of Piedmont.
Shaw said it’s important drivers buckle up and pay attention to the road.
“The drivers need to slow down and the one thing they need to put down is their phone,” said Shaw.
Shaw said with classes back in session across the area, it’s important to be mindful of school zones.
“That way, even if there is some sort of quick reaction, you’re more likely to stop quicker when you drive slower,” said Shaw.
In some school zones, South Carolina Highway Patrol said the speed limit is 25.
“You want to treat these kids like they’re your kids,” said Master Trooper Brandon Bolt with SCHP. “If you were walking through those school zones, you don’t want to see vehicles whizzing by at 55 and 60 miles an hour.”
Shaw also encouraged drivers to turn down the radio and limit distractions.
“If they are holding their cell phone while driving, they’re going to miss so much and a child crossing the street can jump out in front of you just like that and then it’s too late,” said Shaw.
She also said roadway safety is a two-way street.
“It’s very important not only to talk to drivers but to talk to pedestrians because we want kids to be active, we want them to walk to school if they can, we want them to bike to school,” said Shaw.
Highway Patrol said people walking near schools or on campus need to be aware of their surroundings too.
“This is a tip from mama and daddy back in the day, look both ways prior to crossing the street. Please do not walk distracted, do not let your cellphones or electronic devices get you hurt,” said Bolt.
Shaw also said people should also walk against the flow of cars.
“They need to be walking towards traffic. So they need to cross the street over so that they meet the driver’s eye,” said Shaw.
She also said to watch for school buses, since students are typically loading or unloading and then crossing the street.
If you’re on a two-lane road, she also said it’s important to remember that both lanes of traffic need have to stop for school buses.