LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — As many of Clark County School District's youngest student prepare to head back to school buildings Monday for the first time in almost a year, local leaders are reminding drivers of school zone safety and urging everyone to pay attention.
"It was just a few years ago in 2008 that a student of Cartwright Elementary was killed while simply trying to leave school," said Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft Friday.
Naft said the driver that day was not impaired or speeding. She was simply not being as careful as she could have been.
"She stopped at a stop sign and looked left before turning right, hitting the boy in the process," Naft said.
Naft said this is a painful reminder of the real-life consequences of not following the law in school zones. In school zones, it is against the law to make a U-turn or pass another driver. Andrew Bennett with the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety said you also need to pay attention to speed limits.
"Speed kills," Bennett said. "We have extremely low speed limits in the school zones and that's designed to eliminate that possibility of a fatality from happening."
Bennett said from August 2019 to March 2020 -- the last period students were in school buildings -- 41 children were hit on their way to or from school. One student died. Three were seriously injured.
"When we talk about the importance of pedestrian safety, literally lives are on the line," Bennett said.
School zones are active if you see these lights flashing, if you see any students in the area and from 30 minutes before school to 30 minutes after.
For students and families, the message is clear - pay attention.
"Stay alert," said Naft. "Put your phone down. Don't wear your headphones."
Naft said children should plan their route, stay visible, wear bright colors if possible and never assume that a driver sees them. Children should make sure it's absolutely safe before crossing the street.