Drivers Slow Down as Washoe County School District Students Retu - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Drivers Slow Down as Washoe County School District Students Return to Class

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Thousands of Washoe County School District students returned to class on Monday morning, and area law enforcement made sure they got to school grounds safely.

Interim WCSD Police Chief Jason Trevino says the earlier date may take some people by surprise.

"With the school year starting earlier, a lot of commuters are not quite prepared for it," he said. "They're expecting it later on in the month. We want people to know that students are out there and buses are out there."

Parents and teen drivers who have not been on the roads for the last two months are back on the road, making roads slightly more congested.

School police has 38 officers on the roads. That's in addition to Reno and Sparks Police and Washoe County Sheriff's Deputies.

Trevino wants to remind Northern Nevadans that it is not just the driver's responsibility to keep the roads safe, it is the responsibility of pedestrians and the students as well. 

"The main thing students can do is obey the traffic signals and traffic laws as well," he said. "Not crossing on red lights, not crossing midblock when they are walking in front of traffic that is not expecting them, looking for the crosswalks that are already there."

It's also against the law for a car to pass a school bus that stops to load or unload children. Bus drivers use yellow flashing lights to warn motorists they are about to pick up or drop off children. Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign mean the bus is currently at a stop and children are in the process of getting on or coming off.

Besides being extra cautious around school buses, inside school zones and on the streets surrounding schools, drivers should also keep their eyes peeled for children using crosswalks. The National Safety Council warns that motorists should never block or edge into crosswalks with their vehicles, because this can force pedestrians to go around the car and enter a risky situation.

At home, keep your yard and nearby sidewalks free of obstacles, such as overgrown bushes or large holes and cracks, which could block a child's vision or otherwise cause an accident. Also, be a bit more aware of what's taking place in your neighborhood or around the children you see, and report any unusual activity to police.

Incline Village schools start their calendar year on August 25th.

(The City of Sparks also contributed to this report.)
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