NA police getting tough on traffic next week as school readies

There is a good chance that New Albany police will be writing more tickets than usual starting this coming Monday.

Police Chief Chris Robertson is reminding drivers that the fall session for city schools will begin Aug. 4 and officers will be on the alert.

“We want people to know that there will be strict traffic enforcement starting Monday, just as if school were in full session,” he said.

Teachers will work all next week and students will not resume classes until the following Monday, Aug. 11. All the in-school speed limits will apply starting Monday nonetheless. “The limit is mostly 35 miles an hour in school zones but signs are posted,” he said.

Parents and students should also note that city school officials are making some changes in traffic flow this year; they should be announced by next week.

Traffic flow tends to be more of a problem at the elementary school and, to a lesser degree, at the high school, although the widening of Hwy. 15 has made a big difference.

“We are thankful to have Hwy. 15 four-laned but you can generate more speed there than anywhere else other than Hwy. 78,” he said, so drivers will need to be cautious and watchful in the school area particularly.

The start of school also means buses will be on the roads starting Aug. 11 (Aug. 8 for the county schools). “There will be a lot of small children as well as older children so drivers need to be cautious,” Robertson said.

Every year, people still drive around or past stopped school buses and this area has seen catastrophic injury to children getting on or off buses in the past. The chief said most people don’t do it maliciously but may have too many distractions.

When a bus is about to stop it turns on flashing yellow lights. When it does actually stop and the door opens, red lights come on. Some buses have gates that swing out but not all.

“The red lights are the same as traffic red lights,” Robertson said. “They are a legal traffic device the same as traffic lights so stop when you see them” and remain stopped until they are switched off.

School traffic usually settles into a routine pattern after a few weeks, but officers say the first few days will be chaotic and that is when caution and alertness is most critical.