Bluffton police officers welcomed Lowcountry students back to school Monday morning with a high five and a simple message: community and safety.
“Just taking a few moments out of our time to greet the kids, and let them know that we’re here to support them and we’re excited for the new year,” said Officer Robert Harlan.
“The biggest thing is for them to be safe and have fun in school,” added Joe Babkiewicz.
But students’ safety is more than just inside the school–it’s also on their way to and from.
“You’re gonna be driving down Buckwalter Parkway which is 50 miles per hour, and all of a sudden you’re gonna come on a flashing yellow light, you must slow down to 25 miles per hour, because if you don’t you can face a fine up to $450 dollars,” said Joy Nelson, a spokesperson for the Bluffton Police Dept. “More important than getting a speeding ticket is our students’ lives.”
Outside of school zones are bus stops, which also have laws to follow.
“Two-lane road, stop regardless. If you’re approaching, if you’re on the opposite side of the road and you’re approaching that school bus, you’ve got to stop.”
The exception is a four-lane road where two lanes are separated by a median.
Vehicles going the same direction as the bus have to stop.
Vehicles going the opposite direction should slow down.
“We’ve got a lot of kids, a lot of young kids, who may have never ridden a school bus before, who are going to be getting off, might be darting across the road, so it’s better for the motorist to know the rules,” Nelson said.
Bluffton officers will also be handing out distracted driving pamphlets to high school drivers this week, reminding them not to text, eat or get distracted talking to friends while driving.