AUBURN — Police stepped up speeding enforcement in school zones over the past week, reminding drivers to slow down and preparing to make it safer for children walking to schools and bus stops.

Signs reminding drivers to stop for children in crosswalks, with the message “Stop For Me, It’s the Law,” have been placed in school zones and near crosswalks in Auburn. Other signs remind kids to “Stop, Wave, Cross.”

Fliers with the standard back-to-school safety tips, including “Don’t pass a stopped school bus,” were distributed Tuesday by Auburn police. 

“Be careful in school zones and make sure kids are dressed for the weather at bus stops as the weather changes,” said Deputy Chief Jason Moen of the Auburn Police Department.

The Lewiston Police Department’s Community Resource Team placed posters at Lewiston businesses, reminding people to be alert that kids are going back to school.

“Although using crosswalks is the law, don’t expect kids to always use them,” Lewiston Police Lt. Adam Higgins warned drivers. “Use caution and drive more (alertly).”


Drivers also should slow down and pay attention to children waiting for school buses, Androscoggin County Chief Deputy William Gagne said. 

Drivers should pay attention to stopped school buses picking up or dropping off students and pay extra attention to buses when their red, flashing lights are on.

According to state law, Gagne said, a vehicle must stop before reaching a stopped school bus with active red, flashing lights, whether in a parking area, on school property, on a one-way road or on meeting or overtaking a school bus from either direction.

A violation is a Class E crime, which is punishable by a $250 minimum fine for the first offense. A second offense within three years of the first is a mandatory 30-day suspension of the violator’s driver’s license.

The speed limit in a school zone is 15 mph when kids are at recess, a half-hour before and after the beginning and end of the school day, and when school speed limit signs are flashing. Penalties for speeding in a school zone range from $228 to $516.

“Law enforcement officers will be out in force to help ensure the safety of the schoolchildren,” Gagne said.

Auburn and Lewiston students in kindergarten through ninth grade start school Wednesday while students in grades 10, 11 and 12 start Thursday. Auburn prekindergarten students start Sept. 8. 

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