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Reitan: Be alert to activity in school zones

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opinion Fargo,North Dakota 58102 http://www.westfargopioneer.com/sites/all/themes/westfargopioneer_theme/images/social_default_image.png
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Reitan: Be alert to activity in school zones
Fargo North Dakota 101 5th Street North 58102

The school season is about six weeks old and a routine has returned to most families. With the mild weather children continue to walk and bike to school. Drivers are reminded of the requirement to reduce their speed in school zones and to yield to pedestrians attempting to cross the roadway. Fees for speeding in a school zone begin at $40 for the first ten miles per hour over the limit and increase for each additional mile per hour after ten over. Failure to yield to a pedestrian carries a fee of $50. The shortening of daylight hours and temperatures cool enough to coat vehicle windows with frost can dramatically impair a driver’s ability to see. The low sun angles of early morning can be blinding to drivers and school children alike. Failure to completely remove frost or condensate from all of a vehicle’s windows further decreases the ability of a driver to see a dangerous condition. Driving with an obstructed field of vision can result in a twenty dollar fee.

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The end of October will bring a child’s favorite night of fun, Halloween. Parents must properly plan for the safety of their children and provide the level of supervision necessary to keep them from harm. Costume selections should not interfere or obstruct a child’s field of vision nor should the costume impede a child’s ability to walk safely. A costume should be light in color and include reflective material when possible. The use of flashlights or glo-sticks by children can improve their ability to see and be seen. Children should be instructed to use available sidewalks and recreational trails and avoid crossing a roadway other than at a crosswalk. An adult or responsible older child should travel with the children and keep them from becoming separated. Drivers must be hyper vigilant for the increased number of pedestrians.

October can be a month of extremes. Heat, rain, cold, snow and ice prove challenging each year as drivers transition from summer to winter driving conditions. These same conditions will cause an increase or decrease in the number of pedestrians traveling to or from school. Be aware of the changing conditions. Be alert and slow down.

Michael Reitan is the assistant West Fargo police chief

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