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Increased police presence as school opens

The West Fargo Police Department will assign additional officers to school zones as school opens on August 26. Officers will concentrate enforcement on speed limits, occupant restraint use, impeding traffic and pedestrian crossing violations.

School zone speed limits are posted as 15 or 20 miles per hour. Signs are posted identifying the start and end of the school zone. Enforcement action is taken when children are present. The fine for speeding in the school zone is forty dollars for speeds exceeding the posted limit by 1 to 10 miles over the limit. There is an additional one dollar fee for each additional mile per hour over the limit.

Children under the age of eighteen must wear a passenger restraint device while riding in a motor vehicle. This is a primary enforcement violation allowing officers to stop the motor vehicle for this violation alone. The fine is twenty five dollars. Individuals eighteen and over also must wear a restraint. A violation by an adult is a secondary enforcement action requiring a separate reason for the stop. The fine is twenty dollars.

A very dangerous condition occurs when parents stop their motor vehicle in the driving lane of the roadway to discharge their children. The children enter the roadway unexpectedly and are blocked from the view of other vehicles. The child also may not be able to see oncoming traffic. Stopping in the lane of travel also impedes the efficient movement of traffic, resulting in traffic congestion and vehicle crashes. Stopping your vehicle on the roadway can result in a twenty dollar fine.

Intersections which are identified as safe routes to school are marked as school crosswalks. Traffic signs are erected and special markings are made on the roadway. Other intersections may not receive the same signs and markings but the same rules apply to both. If the pedestrian has entered the crosswalk within your lane of travel or is about to enter your lane you must yield to the pedestrian. Failure to yield may result in a citation with a bond amount of fifty dollars.

A violation which occurs frequently at school bus stops is a failure to stop for the school bus when red lights are flashing. Once the red lights of the school bus have been activated, all traffic must stop. School bus drivers write down a vehicle description and license plate number of the violators. This information is enough to charge the registered owner of the vehicle with a violation. The fine amount for passing a school bus with red lights flashing is fifty dollars.

Roadways around the are frequently crowded and can be dangerous places when people do not follow the rules of the roadway. The school works with the city of West Fargo to best coordinate traffic movement. Roadway and driveway accesses are designed to most efficiently move traffic. A single driver failing to follow the rules can create a negative ripple within the traffic flow pattern causing a potentially unsafe condition to exist.

To reduce traffic volumes in the areas of the school, parents are encouraged to carpool or use the school's bus system to transport students to and from school. The busses pick up and discharge the students in a safe location outside the school.