Lexington police say they'll be especially vigilant when Fayette County schools open Wednesday morning, particularly when it comes to speeders and drivers who pass school buses that are loading or unloading students.
Commander Thomas Curtsinger stressed that officers will ticket anyone they see exceeding the 25 mph school-zone speed limit or passing school buses that are loading and unloading children.
Work schedules will be adjusted so officers can be on duty at schools when students arrive Wednesday morning and when they go home in the afternoon, Curtsinger said at a news conference Tuesday.
This year, officers also will be posted at schools undergoing renovation to provide a police presence and assist crossing guards. Those officers will be on duty starting at 7 a.m. Wednesday, Curtsinger said.
"We just want to remind drivers that there will be a lot of extra traffic on the roads, both pedestrian, bicycle and bus traffic, so they need to make appropriate plans," he said. "Every year during this time it's added traffic, added stress and added collisions to our traffic network system. If you simply plan in advance, it will take a lot of the frustration out of the equation."
More than 40,000 Fayette County students will travel to school by bus, car, on foot or on bikes. As a result, traffic will move more slowly all over town.
Police advise drivers to add 10 or 15 minutes of time to their morning commutes and to be watchful of children.
"Any time you see a school bus that is in the process of loading or unloading, it is a violation to make any move to pass that bus," Curtsinger said. "Bus drivers have been trained to take down notations of license plates. We also will have extra enforcement in loading and unloading to make sure that law is enforced."
Improper passing of buses and speeding through school zones are the most common problems police see during the first few days of school, Curtsinger said.