State, local officials to kick off school zone safety initiative - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

State, local officials to kick off school zone safety initiative

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BENTON, Ill. -- Illinois State Police in District 13 are teaming up with county sheriff departments, as well as, school and local representatives for a school zone safety initiative. Reminding drivers to slow down and pay attention. 

Trooper Josh Haile says Southern Illinois had a good safety record in school zones last year with no fatalities or serious injuries. However, throughout the state, bus-related incidents were high. 

"There were over a thousand school bus related crashes in the state of Illinois and that's a 580 crash increase over the previous 5-year average," Haile explains. 

To keep students safe, Captain Derek Wise says to be mindful of the 20 m.p.h. speed limit on school days and to remain distraction free. "We also encourage you to put down the cell phone, stop the texting and pay attention to the functions of driving," he says. 

Representative Dave Severin agrees with Wise and says it's important for all drivers to follow the text-free law, "You just got to make the choice to not to be on your cell phone, to not text when you are driving. Don't do it. And not only to the students, but to adults." 

Participants say the goal is to have zero incidents in school zones this year. 

The school zone safety initiative will take place August 6th - 24th. Law enforcers say they are hoping for voluntary compliance, so they don't have to write citations. 

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