Proposed bill would change how people drive through school zones

Proposed bill would change how people drive through school zones

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KSWO) –A Tulsa lawmaker is proposing a new bill that would require everyone to use their hazard lights while going through a school zone.

House Bill 2470, authored by Rep. Ken Walker, R-Tulsa, would require drivers to "engage the motor vehicle's vehicular hazard warning lamps" while they're in a marked and active school zone.

"The idea is simple – when you see hazard lights, it makes you sit up and pay more attention," said Walker.

Walker says a middle school student in Jenks was hit by an SUV Wednesday morning. While the student wasn't hit in a school zone, Walker says incidents like this happen too frequently. Walker said 4-year-old Emmalee Halstead was hit and killed in Park Elementary's parking lot in Tulsa in 2013. In 2014, a 5-year-old boy was hit on his way to Tulsa's Mitchell Elementary School. A 9-year-old boy was hurt when he was hit by a car at Central Elementary in Yukon last year.

"This is basically an annual problem, even if it doesn't always occur in a school zone," Walker said. "It's human nature that in the morning rush, some drivers are going to be distracted. Getting their attention with hazard lights is a sure-fire way to increase their attention. Parents should be able to drop off and pick up their kids without worrying about these types of accidents."

If the bill passes, drivers would have to engage their hazards when they enter a school zone and turn them off once the vehicle leaves the marked school zone. This requirement would only be in effect when the school zone is active.

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