BAKER COUNTY:  Drivers reminded to respect school zones

BAKER COUNTY: Drivers reminded to respect school zones

School is back in session and bus drivers are reminding parents and the community to use caution in the school zones.
“We have precious cargo,” said Shanna Golden, who drives a bus for Baker School District.
Buses are equipped with stop signs. When these signs are out and the lights are flashing, drivers must stop 50 feet behind and in front of the bus.
“When the red lights flash, you must stop,” said Wayne Paxton, transportation supervisor.
ORS 811.155 explains the law:”A driver commits the offense of failure to stop for bus safety lights if the driver meets or overtakes from either direction any vehicle that is stopped on a roadway and that is operating red bus safety lights described under ORS 816.260 (Bus safety lights) and the driver does not: stop before reaching the vehicle; and remain standing until the bus safety lights are no longer operating.”
Paxton said the intersection of Fourth and Washington streets at Baker Middle School is a particularly busy area. The dedicated bus lane is located on the east side of BMS. There is not a four-way stop, so traffic continues moving on Fourth Street.
“That’s the main concern, down Fourth Street,” Paxton said.
Skye Flanagan, BMS principal, encourages parents to watch out for kids walking to school.
“The kids do a good job using the crosswalks. We’ve just got to do our jobs as adults,” he said. “Just use common sense.”
At South Baker Intermediate, buses and parents utilize the same lane on the north side of the school. Crossing guards are posted to help students cross sidewalks in the morning and afternoon. Principal Geno Bates encourages parents to learn the areas and listen to the guards.
“Please know the designated area and pay attention to what the folks say and what the signs say,” Bates said. “We need people to be mindful and careful.”
He said vehicles need to yield to buses, even if that means pulling to the side of the road. “Buses do need to have a priority. They’re on a time schedule,” Bates said.
Lance Woodward, school resource officer, emphasizes the need to follow reduced speed limits in the school zones. Also, every intersection has a crosswalk, whether it is marked with white lines or not.
“Pedestrians always have the right of way in crosswalks,” Woodward said.
Violations around the schools can range from speeding to careless (ORS 11.135) or reckless driving (ORS 811.140). Failure to obey – or yield to – a traffic patrol member (crossing guards) is a Class A traffic violation.
“Watch for kids, watch for crossing guards,” Woodward said. “If you’re in violation of a law, you could be issued a citation. Reckless driving is a crime in the state of Oregon.”

About Baker School District 5J
Nationally recognized Baker School District 5J (BSD) is a major employer in Baker City, OR, serving 1,700 students locally with an additional 2500 online students across the state of Oregon. Through enterprising, collaborative endeavors, BSD is creating an engaging educational foundation for future Oregonians. BSD believes strong school collaboration with local partners enables us to create vibrant communities that support lifelong learners.