Thomas Jones gets to work every morning at eight, rain or shine. He has a job to do. With some stops here and there, Jones makes sure students get to school safely.
"I see a lot of traffic here and people come through and run the red lights," said Thomas Jones.
Jones is just one of the many crossing guards that make sure your child arrives safely, but they can't do it alone. That's where school zones come in.
"This is an area where children have no knowledge of the roadway," said Tim Moriarity of Columbia Police.
While some schools are tucked away into neighborhoods, others are located on busy streets. For instance, Grant Elementary sits on Broadway making traffic that much heavier and the need for school zone enforcement that much more important. But pay attention because each school zone is different.
Columbia has two types of school zones. One runs from an hour before school to an hour after. The other type has a flashing signal which is enforced only during drop off and pick up hours.
With different rules, sometimes it can be tricky to know what zone you're in. Moriarty says making them all one type would be a bad idea.
"I would like to have them all the same so there's no deviation so everybody knows what the limit is," he said. "The reason I don't accept that argument is that every neighborhood, every school district is different."
It's not just the zones that are different. The warnings are different too.
Flashing lights, speed bumps and speed monitoring signs are just a couple ways drivers are told they should slow down.
Grant has the speed monitoring sign but on a busy road like Broadway cars still go over the limit.
"They help a little bit but not that much," said Jones. "It's hard for cars to go 20 miles an hour off the hill."
With businesses shooting up around Paxton Keeley in west Columbia, the signs and speed bump there help remind drivers where they are.
"What we find is people often cut through Park Deville to avoid the big intersection of Fairview and Broadway," said Principle of Paxton Keeley Elaine Hassemer.
Hassemer is thankful for the speed bump, but wouldn't mind a speed sign or two.
"Anytime that you can put that speed up and you can make people aware of how fast they're going, it just causes them to think and maybe slow down and be a little bit more careful while driving," said Moritary.
Moriarty just wants drivers to remember one thing.
"A speed limit is just that; it's a speed limit, not a speed minimum."
Jones has an idea for all those school zone speeders as well.
"I think they should come out and watch and give all those speeders tickets, and then donate that money to the schools," Jones said.
If you drive through a school zone everyday and are not sure which type it is check out the interactive map. Just click on the link to the left.
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