July 31st , 2013 13:03 pm Leave a comment

Driver caution urges as school year begins

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Highway Patrol is urging extra caution by drivers as the new school year gets underway statewide.

Troopers issued nearly 1,400 more citations last academic year than during the year before. The total was 5,247 citations. The number does not include those written by city and county officers.

THP Col. Tracy Trott said the safety effort stretches beyond school zones to motorists who are taking children to school and drivers near school buses.

“Our priority is to educate motorists on the importance of safe driving practices around school zones and buses and in high pedestrian traffic areas,” Trott said. “We are also urging motorists who are transporting children to and from school to ensure they are safely restrained in seat belts, booster seats and child restraint devices.”

Some school systems have already begun classes. Among the larger public school systems, the Metro Nashville schools will begin classes on Thursday, Hamilton County and Madison County classes meet on Friday, Shelby County begins Monday, Washington County on Tuesday and Knox County takes up classes Aug. 12.

State figures show there has been a 7 percent decrease in crashes in school zones before and after classes between 2008 and 2012. More significantly, there was a 73.5 percent decrease in the number of school bus-related crashes.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates about 600,000 students ride school buses in Tennessee each class day.

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