Police enforcing school zone laws as buses return to the roads

WAVY-TV 10

HAMPTON, Va (WAVY) —  As you race out of the house to get to school or work on time, remember that school buses are back on the street.

So are many teen drivers and walkers all heading back to school.

A total of 246 children were injured and 3 died in pedestrian accidents in 2016. Police across Hampton Roads issued hundreds of tickets to drivers speeding in school zones during the last school year.

“We do not mess around when it comes to our kids,” Corporal Ashley Jenrette with the Hampton Police Department told 10 On Your Side.

WAVY.com Back-to-School Guide

Jenrette has a message for drivers: “If you violate in a school zone most likely you will be issued a summons.”

Last school year, the Hampton Police Department wrote 350 tickets for speeding in a school zone and/or   failing to stop for buses flashing lights. Other local cities aren’t messing around either.

Virginia Beach wrote more than 800 tickets, Newport News more than 80, and Portsmouth more than 70.

“The first few weeks of school you will actually see a lot of officers out in the school zones enforcing those speed limit laws,” Jenrette added.

When the lights on the school zone signs are flashing your speed should drop. And  when you see flashing lights on a bus you need to stop no matter what side of the street you are driving on.

Hampton schools has started adding a second stop arm to the back of its buses to keep drivers at a safe distance.

Hampton Schools Transportation Director, Darrin Wills, told WAVY.com, “You want to make sure you’ve got a clear view of the back tires and all that good stuff you don’t want to be right up on it.”

He added that you should teach your kids to walk way out in front of the bus. He recommends they take five giant steps out front before crossing so the driver has a clear view of the child.

Police remind drivers it is paramount to stay off your cell phones.

Wills says cell phone use on the roads it’s getting worse and bus drivers are not going to stand for it. They are taking down license plate numbers and using dash camera video to report anyone who puts kids in danger.

“We want to make sure everybody is safe we want to have a good day certainly don’t want to hear that someone has gotten hit,” Wills said.

Keep in mind that schools start at different times, and those lights will be flashing in school zones and on buses at different times throughout the day.

The fines for speeding also go up in a school zone.

With fees added, going just five miles over the limit could cost you close to $100.