The sound of school bells will be heard again in the coming week as area school districts begin another year in the classroom.
Summer flew by and drivers got out of the practice of watching for school buses and kids walking to and from the school building or bus stop.
Every year, school officials and law enforcement preach the importance of driving safely around schools, but it is even more important during those first several weeks of the school year.
Kids are excited to see friends they may not have seen in months. They will dart out into traffic without thinking. But it is up to alert drivers to make sure they are always looking for such an instance.
Drivers need to slow down in school zones and residential areas where children may be walking to and from school. Watch carefully when backing out of a driveway or garage.
Be aware of the times school starts and ends. Sometimes it is best to just avoid a school zone during those times. A detour of a few minutes around a school zone may be safer.
The start of the school year also brings buses back onto the road. Drivers must obey the laws concerning school buses. Red flashing lights mean stop.
The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles reported 11 drivers in Jefferson County were convicted in the past two years of passing a school bus in the process of loading or unloading children.
Also, drivers need to make sure their windows and windshields are clear of dew or ice and snow as the year progresses. Limited visibility can lead to delayed response time if a child runs out into the street.
Parents also have a responsibility when it comes to getting their child safely to and from school.
Teach kids how to safely cross the street and to only cross in a crosswalk. Children should only walk on the sidewalk.
If your child does walk to school or the bus stop, take a couple practice trips and point out danger spots. Make sure the child takes the same route everyday.
School bells are a reminder to be safe during the school year.
Be alert and be safe when driving near schools.