Troopers on patrol in school zones and on buses as students head back to school
Law enforcement officers say they plan to have extra patrols to catch drivers putting students at risk.
The largest school district in the Tennessee Valley is back in session. Hamilton County families will be up early to be on time for the first day.
This means more people will be on the roads in the morning. If you've been driving with a lead foot all summer, troopers say it's time to engage the breaks especially in school zones. Law enforcement officers say they plan to have extra patrols to catch drivers putting students at risk.
Thousands of students will return to the classroom and for most, each day starts and ends with a ride on a school bus. The Tennessee Highway Patrol wants drivers to pay attention as students get back into their routine.
"If you're busy, trying to get to work and you're rushed or you're running late, you may not realize that you're coming up on that school zone or that it's activated now that school will be back in session tomorrow," said Sgt. Alan Bailey.
All summer, many school zone signs in Hamilton County were turned off. Starting Wednesday, officials will turn them back on.
Bailey says THP and other law enforcement agencies will spread out and monitoring known trouble spots.
They'll be looking out for drivers going too fast and putting children in danger.
"You know they're getting off the bus, they're laughing, cutting it up they're not paying attention to the traffic. They're not paying attention to the cars around them; they're just assuming they're going to stop," he explained.
Troopers will also ride inside school buses throughout the year. Looking out for drivers who ignore stop signs buses and other violations.
Bailey said all vehicles must stop in both directions, no matter how many lanes away they are from a stopped bus.
"Unless that road has a divided median; such as a concrete barrier, grassy area or guardrail, you're required to stop," he said.
In general, Bailey says school buses are the safest way to get to school and the real danger is what could happen once they leave.
"Where the problem is when they get off that bus, they have to deal with the cars around them and that's usually where they're going to get hurt at," said Bailey.
THP says when a stop sign is deployed on a school bus, the area is treated like a school zone. Violators can face hefty fines and points against their driving license.