KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Monday was the first day of school for students at schools around the region, and with the start of classes comes an increase in traffic.
In Kingsport, kids with new backpacks, girls with new dresses, and boys with new tennis shoes felt those "first day of school jitters."
Kingsport City Schools Superintendent Lyle Ailshie greeted students all around the city, but he started his morning at Andrew Johnson Elementary School. "There's nothing like the first day of school," he says. "All the excitement and the buildings come to life, you know school buildings can be pretty dull and boring when the kids aren't there, so they come back to life today."
Parents and school buses dropped children off, and and drivers can expect roads near schools to be teeming with traffic. That's why the Kingsport Police Department stepped up their presence at all city schools.
Tom Patton, public information officer, says officers will be out in the mornings and afternoons for the first couple of weeks, and they will sporadically patrol throughout the school year. "Watch out for those pedestrians in the crosswalks, and understand that these are children and they're not experienced adults, and so they are not going to necessarily obey traffic laws themselves," he says.
Regardless of where your school is located, crossing guards and moving patrols want all kids to get to class safely, so they urge drivers to remember that it's illegal to pass a stopped school bus that's loading or unloading children. At crosswalks and in school zones, drivers are required to yield to pedestrians.
Patton tells News 5 kids are safest when they're on a school bus. "If you look at national statistics, school buses, kids riding on school buses, are in the least amount of danger. They are less likely to have an accident on a school bus than they are in their own parents car," he says.
If you want to avoid traffic, Patton says to stay away from school zones between 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.