Follow rules, signs to keep HEHS parking lot safe

Tina Muhamedagic, Staff Writer

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Prior to some well-needed updates, the Hoffman Estates High School’s parking lot experienced some serious driving concerns.

Imagine, you are walking out to the parking lot during your lunch and out of nowhere a car comes hurdling your way and hits you. This has happened a few times in the schools’ parking lot.

“Two to three kids were hit by cars last school year,” said Detective Linnel Allen, the school police officer. “Accidents have been increasing because people are not obeying by the traffic laws.”

It is a fact that teenage drivers experience more car accidents than their older counterparts. Detective Allen said that not only are students at fault, but half of the accidents that happen are due to parents as well.

“People are not obeying the school bus signs traffic signs and yielding for pedestrians when they pull into the parking lot,” said Detective Allen.

“Most of them drive too fast, don’t yield at the end of aisles, and they cut around corners,” said Bill Allen, driver’s education teacher at HEHS.

Students have the privilege to go off campus during their lunch time, which is a great choice for students who are eligible; however, some students have taken advantage of the privilege.

While some may argue that off campus is a necessary privilege given to students as a way to reward them for their excellent behavior in school, Allen believes it shouldn’t be allowed because it may result in negative consequences.

“Eating unhealthy and driving (quickly) is a dangerous option,” said Allen.

“I don’t believe off campus should be allowed,” added Diana Abate. Abate doesn’t believe students should be driving if they are not ready. Parents need to realize when their child isn’t ready to start driving yet. The other consideration when students are driving is the distraction factor.

“Kids are far less capable of driving tasks because of the phones,” said Allen.

Phones while driving has become an issue. Technology in vehicles is causing new drivers and experienced drivers to become more distracted while behind the wheel. Adults need to display good examples for their children and new drivers to prevent violations from happening.

The school had done some significant changes to the parking lot to ease the flow of traffic. They’ve included cones and traffic service employees that help regulate and control traffic near and around the school.

The school is going to reconstruct the parking lot in the near future. The school has also shut down a lane by the front because three lanes of car traffic was too chaotic.

Ken Herman and Rick Huffnus, student services staff, have directed traffic before in the school parking lot. They both said that it was very busy and chaotic before the cones were in place but say things have improved.

The morning drop-off zone is a current issue at the school. Before the cones were placed, people drove sporadically and it was hard for the buses to come and go.

Justin Onayemi, assistant principal, said that the school parking lot was an issue. The organization with the cones has helped. People have complained, but he’s okay with it because it’s a safer organization.

“I’m shocked at how few accidents happened [prior to the updates],” said Onayemi.

With traffic law violations, Onayemi has reassured that if you are seen texting while driving on school grounds you will be ticketed by the police. Onayemi doesn’t believe the parking lot is a big issue anymore because the new strategy has been working and fewer accidents have been happening.

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Follow rules, signs to keep HEHS parking lot safe