Richland County officials urge caution on the road as students return to school

08/18/2014 12:31 PM

08/18/2014 12:31 PM

As Midlands students return to school this week, many of them will be traveling to and from school on foot and by bus.

And that means drivers need to slow down.

Sheriff Leon Lott was joined by school officials from Richland 1 and Richland 2 at Dent Middle School Monday to promote driver caution through school zones and around school buses.

“We have community schools, which means a lot of our young people walk to school and take buses, which puts them on our roadways,” Lott said. “We should take that responsibility as adults and drive carefully.”

Those who don’t follow the laws for travel around school zones and school buses will face stiff penalties.

The minimum fine for passing a stopped school bus is $500 and six points on a driver’s license for the first offense, and $2,000 and six points for the second offense, according to the sheriff’s department.

Interim Superintendent Cynthia Cash-Greene said as students in Richland 1 begin their first day of the new school year Monday, the No. 1 priority for all districts should be the safety of students traveling to and from schools.

“It is critical that we impress upon drivers to monitor the streets carefully as children are boarding and exiting buses, both in the morning and in the evening,” Cash-Greene said.

Richland 2 Superintendent Debbie Hamm said for the next 180 days, school buses will carry nearly 19,000 students to and from school everyday totaling about 12,600 miles for the year.

“Countless parents, day cares and others drive the roads at the same time taking another 14,000 students to school,” Hamm said. “The first few days are always a little bit slower. There may be a little bit more traffic and a little more confusion, but please be patient and careful these first few days of school.”

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