Police Ready to Enforce Speed Limits in School Zones

Police will be watching school zones for speeders as local schools reopen this month.

Champaign police Sgt. Dave Griffet reminded motorists that speeds in school zones are 20 miles per hour unless otherwise posted.

Champaign elementary schools with a “balanced calendar” are already in session, but the rest will begin Aug. 21.

“Drivers should be attentive to pedestrians in crosswalks in and around the local school,” Griffet said.

Pedestrians should cross at designated intersections and crosswalks when they have the right of way, he said.

Champaign police officers will be posted near school zones to monitor the speeds of vehicles, along with improper lane changes, tailgating or other safety issues, according to Deputy Chief John Murphy.

School patrols will be done with regular shift officers, as well as extra manpower through the Selective Traffic Enforcement Patrol program, which hires back additional officers.

August will also be one of the months for allocation of state grant money to pay for traffic enforcement. Champaign received a grant of $130,000 from the Illinois Department of Transportation to hire back additional officers to target speeding violations on Windsor Road, Church Street, Bradley Avenue and Neil Street.

School for Urbana begins Aug. 27 and 28, depending on grade level.

“We ask motorists to be vigilant not only in school zones, but also in areas where students will be walking to and from school,” said Urbana school spokesman Mark Schultz. “There’s going to be a lot of kids out there.”

Urbana police Lt. Anthony Cobb, patrol supervisor, said extra patrols will be made around schools when they are in session. In addition to speeding violations, police will be watching for drivers who ignore school bus stop-arm warnings and pedestrian crossing issues.

Cobb said most school traffic violations will result in tickets, and some carry heavy fines or possible license suspension.

Article by Steve Bauer

The News Gazette, Champaign Illinois