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Sheriff's office promotes back-to-school safety

The Washington County Sheriff's Office is reminding drivers that school is back in session Tuesday for the 2014-15 academic year, and asks drivers to be extra-cautious on the road.

Members of the Traffic Safety Team will provide enhanced patrols in and around school zones to remind drivers to expect the thousands of children crossing streets, said agency spokesman Sgt. Bob Ray.

"Drivers need to pay attention and watch for school-zone flashing lights and signs advising the busiest times for children to be present," Ray said. "Drivers should be alert for school buses to stop often and unexpectedly."

Children are "the least predictable pedestrians and the most difficult to see," Ray added. "Take extra care to look out for children not only in school zones, but also in residential areas, playgrounds and parks.

"Many children ride their bicycles to school and may be in the roadway, sidewalk or behind a vehicle as it backs out of a driveway."

Every year, Washington County sheriff's deputies respond to complaints of speeding drivers in school zones. A number of the speeding drivers are parents dropping their children off at school. Plan ahead and expect traffic delays around all schools, Ray advises, especially during the first week.

Drivers are reminded to stop behind the crosswalk and not obstruct the designated area causing children to walk around their vehicle. Speeding in a school zone doubles the presumptive fine, as well.

For more information, contact Ray at 503-209-5613.

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