It’s back to school time for thousands of students this week in the Yakima Valley...if you drive a vehicle authorities say watch for kids.

YAKIMA SCHOOL DISTRICT STARTS WEDNESDAY MORNING

Students in the Yakima School District return to school this Wednesday, August 25th. West Valley School District students return to classes on Tuesday, August 31st. City officials and local authorities are warning drivers Today because school zones will be open on Wednesday after not being in operation for months. The zones are open from  7:00am to 4:00pm weekdays.

POLICE WILL BE LOOKING FOR DRIVERS WHO AREN'T LOOKING FOR KIDS

City officials and Yakima Police say the number one job of drivers when school starts is to watch for kids. They remind drivers to stop and wait for a stopped school bus that is loading and unloading and reduce vehicle speed to 20 mph. Four recommendations from Triple AAA to make your back to school commute safer this week. Slow down, eliminate distractions, make a complete stop at a stop sign and plan some extra time into your commute especially if you drive near schools or in school zones. Remember Yakima Police say speeding tickets double in a school zone so the average cost is about 180 dollars.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration also recommends:

When transporting children, they should always ride in the back seat. Children in the front seat are 40 percent more likely to be injured in crashes.
When driving in neighborhoods with school zones, watch out for young people who may be thinking about getting to school, but may not be thinking of getting there safely.
When crossing the street, look left-right-left for cars. Do not cross if a car is coming.
Pedestrians should access the roadway at designated intersections and crosswalks. Leave the curb or place of safety only when you have the right-of-way.
To help with safety efforts, City of Yakima traffic crews last week completed programming of yellow flashing lights for school zones in the Yakima and West Valley school districts. Drivers are required to reduce vehicle speed to 20 mph when yellow lights are flashing.

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