TOPEKA (KSNT) — Thousands of Kansas kids are heading back to school over the next several days, and that means all you drivers out there need to get back into a few safe habits.
Between school zones, those big yellow buses, and end-of-summer construction there’s a lot to be aware of.
“We do enforce those laws very rigidly with regard to school zones,” said Chief Ron Brown, Director of Public Safety for Topeka Public Schools.
That’s the case in every city, every school district around the state, and to make sure students stay safe all drivers have to respect the rules of the road.
“They go into effect on the first day of school, they have set times that those zones are being used,” said Brown.
Watch for neon yellow signs that signal crosswalks and reduced speeds, and of course these familiar flashing stop signs.
“Understand that those yellow lights are followed by red lights, and so that means we’re getting ready to stop to pick up students,” said Brown.
He gets complaints from bus drivers every year that people ignore these signs and never stop.
“We will write tickets for that if people are not paying due attention to stopped school buses. You know we have a lot of smaller children who ride those school buses, we don’t want them darting out in front. We understand that you’re in route to work, you’re in route to wherever, but that stop sign is out for a reason,” said Brown.
Unless there’s a median between your car and a stopped bus, do not pass it.
Getting back in the swing of school will take some patience, so remember, “Officers will be out in force tomorrow (Wednesday), working to ensure that people are following the traffic plans, that they’re driving the appropriate speeds through school zones, that they’re stopping for stopped school buses,” said Brown.
And you really don’t want to get caught breaking any of those safety laws. Brown says the ticket for speeding in a school zone or illegally passing a school bus is at least $142, and those laws apply everywhere in the state.