By early next week, Merced County's school districts will be back in session and that means students, parents and motorists need to be extra cautious, area law enforcement officers said Thursday.
Lt. Bimley West of the Merced Police Department said the students themselves, as well as their parents, should be especially careful going to and from school.
"We all have to pull together," West said. "Parents should be watchful of their kids and not allow smaller children to walk to school by themselves. Motorists, please be courteous, not only for yourselves, but especially for little children."
John Patterson, public information officer for the Merced Area office of the California Highway Patrol, warned drivers to be cautious.
"School zones will be active once again," Patterson said. "We ask people to adhere to 25 mph in school zones and be cautious of little ones walking around. We ask parents taking or picking up their kids at school to be patient with the high volume of traffic."
Patterson advises students to be safe in crosswalks and make sure vehicles have stopped before proceeding. He said parents may need to educate their children about properly using crosswalks.
If anyone observes reckless drivers near school zones, they should notify law enforcement as well as school authorities, Patterson said. Motorists also need to obey directions of crossing guards at school intersections.
See suspicious people?
West said parents and local residents should report suspicious people near bus stops or those appearing to follow young people, so officers can investigate these incidents.
All patrol officers can handle traffic matters and citations, which can result in hefty fines.
Motorcyclists, truck and car drivers all need to heed posted speed limits, which could be slower than 25 mph in some cases depending on the circumstances, West said.
Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.