Students in Arlington County, Virginia, will be returning to their classrooms Monday for the start of the 2023-24 school year, and county police say they will be out in strong numbers to enforce the traffic safety laws around school zones and bus stops.
The county’s approximately 28,000 public school students walk, bike and take the bus to school.
Alli Shorb, a spokesperson for the Arlington County Police Department, said officers will be making sure students are returning to a safe commute.
“To ensure a safe return to the classroom for all of our students, faculty and community at large, Arlington County police officers will be participating in a high visibility transportation safety campaign where members from our special operations section, patrol division … will be present for arrival and dismissal times at elementary and middle schools across the county during the first week of school,” Shorb said.
While the county board approved the use of speed cameras in school zones in January 2022, the cameras are not expected to be in place until early 2024.
“Speeding is incredibly dangerous. And it’s one of those things that we look for, especially leading up to the beginning of school, during that first week and the week after,” Shorb said.
The county police department is buttressing its traffic safety efforts with more than 20 variable signboards posted on county roadways bearing safety messages related to back-to-school traffic.
Drivers are reminded to slow down, especially in and near school zones, avoid distracted driving and not to pass stopped school buses loading and unloading passengers.
“We ask drivers to stay focused on the road at all times, and remain alert for pedestrians in the area, especially in those early morning and late afternoon hours during arrival and dismissal times,” Shorb said.
Students are being told to cross streets in designated crosswalks and never at a red light. Bicyclists should wear helmets, keep to the right and ride with traffic.
Parents are also advised to make sure that the little ones know their address and important telephone numbers in the case of an emergency.
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