WARD (KATV) — Flashing lights entering a school zone immediately let you know to slow down. But you can be ticketed when the lights are not flashing too... as many drivers through one Lonoke county town have been discovering. The speed limit this week going past Ward Central elementary school is 55 miles per hour. Next week...it will drop to 25. But many wonder when time of day that adjustment begins...and ends. The sign as you approach Ward Central elementary school...and most schools in Arkansas for that matter...tells you the speed to travel when children are present. When Jim Eckhart of Beebe passed the sign last spring, school had been dismissed, the lights were not flashing and he didn't see any children. "It was about 3:50 in the afternoon and honestly, no," answers Eckhart when asked if he saw any busses or children. "There weren't a whole lot of kids. I couldn't see no traffic up there or nothing so I was just cruising along."Eckhart was ticketed for traveling 40 in a 25. 15 motorists were ticketed in May for speeding past Ward Central elementary. Many of those tickets were issued after 3:45...when the lights on the sign stop flashing. But as superintendent Tony Thurman told us by phone, the sign doesn't say slow down when the lights are flashing...it says slow down when children are present. Dr. Thurman says to err on the side of child safety, the lower limits should be observed all day long because of before school and after school programs. If you speed up just because you don't see children or because the lights aren't flashing, you risk a ticket."What advice do you have for people coming through here...school starts Monday. What advice do you have for people coming through here?" "Caution yourself," warns Eckhart. "Watch what you're doing, you know, pay attention to your time frame. Because they have no respect for it around here."At $200.00 a ticket those citations issued in May had the potential to bring in $3,000.00 for the city of Ward. Superintendent Thurman says the district will look at programming the lights to flash longer. Air date: August 13th, 2014
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