Behind Fuqua Elementary School, there’s a set of lights – lights with a meaning that changes throughout the day.
“The bad thing with this is right now, it’s dormant,” THPD Chief John Plasse said during an interview prior to the first day of school. “There’s no light, so people just go by and they kinda lose track that it’s there.”
Drivers losing track of the light becomes an issue during the hours of the day that students are walking to and fron school using Margaret Avenue.
“It’s flashing red and they may not see that cuz they’re not used to stopping here or using caution here,” Plasse said.
This theory became reality Wednesday morning, as the first day of school brought plenty of rule breakers, several who were tracked down by the THPD’s Traffic Division.
Chief Plasse advises drivers to look for the speed limit drop to 20 mph in school zones throughout Terre Haute and to avoid all distractions while driving.
“Texting, being on your phone, changing the radio, just a lot of things can take your eyes off the road just for a second when a kid could run out and the results could be devastating,” Plasse said.
Crossing guards are placed at strategic locations throughout the Vigo County School District to help students cross safely, but its up to each individual driver to do their part.
“I hope that people will drive careful wherever they are,” Plasse said. “But closer to schools, please, when school’s in session, be more observant of what’s around you and drive cautiously.”
A WTWO reporter counted five different drivers getting pulled over on Margaret Ave. Wednesday morning between 7:15-8:15.
A crossing guard stationed there said she fears these dangers will only increase after the Margaret Ave. overpass is completed and traffic picks up.
Chief Plasse says THPD evaluates the areas with crossing guards every year, as housing and population trends may change the need for a guard in certain areas.