Written By: Prince William County Police Department
The Police Department will kick-off “Operation School Zone-Slow Zone” with the “C.A.R.E. Initiative” — asking pedestrians to Cross with care, drivers to Approach with care, bicyclists to Ride with care, and everyone to Egress (or exit) school zones safely, as officers increase their presence and enforcement in and around schools when classes resume Monday, Aug. 22, 2022. Back-to-school time increases traffic around our area schools, and everyone is being asked to pack their patience while preparing for potentially longer commutes as school buses hit the roadways. All roadway users from motorists to pedestrians to bicyclists should obey traffic laws and follow safe practices while traversing the county. The Prince William County Police Department has teamed up with our law enforcement partners in Manassas City, the City of Manassas Park, the Towns of Dumfries, Haymarket, Occoquan, and Quantico, the Sheriff’s Office, and Virginia State Police to commit to a safe school year and are issuing a public safety announcement to encourage proper roadway use. Traffic safety remains a top priority for area law enforcement.
We need your help. Motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians must do their part to keep our roadways safe. Traffic safety is everyone’s responsibility. Many crashes are caused by inattention to laws and not following best practices on the roadway; most of these crashes are preventable. In 2021, the police department investigated over 4,300 reported crashes, an increase of 27.8%, which resulted in approximately 1,700 injuries. Twenty-eight of those crashes last year were fatal. The top two traffic violations in 2021 were speeding and reckless driving. From August 2021 to June 2022, the police department issued over 200 citations for speeding in a school zone and over 400 for cell phone violations.
Tips for all roadway users:
Drivers: obey posted speed limits, crossing guard guidance, school zones, stop signs, and traffic signals; watch out for stopped school buses loading and unloading students around bus stops; reduce phone and passenger distractions; pay attention to pedestrians and bicyclists; and of course, buckle up!
Pedestrians: use designated crosswalks and sidewalks, look before crossing, don’t walk distracted, walk to be seen in case of low visibility conditions, and obey pedestrian signals at intersections.
Bicyclists: always wear a helmet, be aware of your surroundings, keep right of the roadway when possible, ride with (not against) traffic, and obey all roadway signage and signals.
Remember: Eyes up. Phones down. And obey the law. Lives are in your hands!