Thousands of students in Hamilton County will return to school on Thursday and extra patrols will be out in local school zones to keep them safe.

Officials say more police cars should be expected when dropping children off and picking them up from school.

Several local law enforcement agencies are teaming up this school year to make sure drivers are not breaking the law.

Drivers are urged to slow down on Thursday and expect heavier traffic for the first day of classes. 

The Tennessee Highway Patrol says they plan to target traffic violators, specifically those who speed in school zones, drive distracted, or disregard stopped school buses that are loading and unloading children.

Officials are also urging drivers to put down their cell phones. Starting in January, a new Tennessee state law will go into effect that makes using a hand-held phone illegal in active school zones. The law includes no texting or talking on the phone in those areas.