As more students are headed back to school, the Tennessee Highway Patrol would like for you to get back in the mindset of being in school traffic.

Troopers also want to keep students safe while riding the school bus and make sure drivers know the rules of the road.

It’s been a busy summer for state troopers.

They have inspected school buses and trained drivers.

Now, they want to make sure the school year goes smooth for every family. 

“Your child may come home, and say a Tennessee State Trooper road their school bus today,” said Johnny Anderson. “All of that is being done to raise awareness, and to enforce our laws around the school buses and in school zones.”

Some students will be getting on the bus for the very first time, and others have walked onto a bus like this before. 

No matter if you’re a veteran bus rider or a rookie, Trooper Johnny Anderson wants every student to put down the devices to stay alert at the bus stop. 

Parents should talk to their student about how their actions could impact others. 

“How important behavior is on the bus,” said Anderson. “Those drivers have a very important job, and it's hard for them to be able to do that. They need to be able to focus their attention completely on the road.”

Anderson suggests passengers find a seat, stay seated, and remain quiet. 

Each year, drivers must take a four-hour course to maintain their license. 

Typically, the course covers loading and unloading procedures, what to do at a railroad crossing, and security awareness.

Also, a new training course will help drivers identify human trafficking.

“[The] Transportation Department in Nashville thought that it was important,” said Anderson.  “So we could have more eyes out there. So we can spot the problem, and report it.”
 
Before any driver can hit the road, Anderson and many other troopers inspect all the buses to make sure they are ready for the commute. 

“We get under there to check the steering components,” said Anderson.  “We are looking at the suspension. We are looking at the tires, and make sure everything is in order.”
 
Troopers also do random inspections throughout the year to maintain the overall performance of the buses. 

This year, they will follow buses to make sure drivers are following the rules of the road. 

Anderson reminds people to be on the lookout for speed limit changes in school zones, and it’s illegal to pass a bus with the stop sign out. 

“Rather it's a two-lane county road or 5 Lane Highway. If it's a continuously paved surface with no barrier, all traffic must stop,” said Anderson.

Just as a reminder, Tennessee is now a hands-free state, and using/holding your phone will result in a ticket.