BETONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — With school back up and running, it brings a world of change, and not just for students.
To launch our new series, The Police Rapport, I learned that before that school bell rings, drivers will see significant change between lanes. That could have a big impact for parents, students, cyclists and pedestrians across Northwest Arkansas.
With the help of Sergeant Gene Page with the Bentonville P.D, we’re dissecting the intersection at Walton Boulevard on the Rainbow Curve, one that requires a difficult maneuver seen across Northwest Arkansas.
Gene Page: “At this intersection, this is where we have the most accidents in Bentonville and it’s problematic because we have this merging section. They are trying to find that one spot, ‘where can I get in?’ And when they have that one spot, the vehicle in front of them stops, that’s why we have so many rear end accidents here.”
It’s a difficult spot year round, But it only gets worse with back-to-school traffic.
Alex Caprariello: “So now that school is starting across Northwest Arkansas, there’s a lot more traffic hazards, its not just cars. So what are you seeing out there and what do people need to know?”
Gene Page: “They need to understand that what you’ve been driving through all summer is going to completely change on Monday morning. School starts, we have new drivers, cyclists and pedestrians coming through. So we need to slow speeds down, leave a little early and watch for cyclists and pedestrians that may jump right out in front of you.”
Rest assured, the police force across the area will be on high alert.
Alex Caprariello: “What kind of changes does your department and patrol division make when they know that traffic will be a little bit different on Monday?”
Gene Page: “We’ll have officers at every location at every city to help people understand the traffic and flow and to make sure we keep our speeds down as we are dropping our children off.”
We ended our day behind the wheel, to see drivers pushing the limit first-hand. It was a reminder to watch the speedometer when you’ve got the kids in the back seat.
Alex Caprariello: “So will you see harsher penalties in school zones?”
Gene Page: “Sure, I think everyone in the community will back you up on that you need harsher penalties in school zones because of the risk involved. And look! That truck right there, going 68 in a 40.”
Alex Caprariello: “Wow, 28 over?”
Gene Page: “28 over. That’s what we see coming in and what we need to stop before Monday morning.”
In each edition of The Police Rapport, we examine community issues from the eyes of our friends in blue. Make sure you tune in on Sundays for the latest.