Students across Christian County are returning or have already started classes this week for the 2019-2020 school year.
Students in Nixa and Spokane started class on Tuesday. Billings has its first day of school Wednesday, while kids in Ozark, Clever, Sparta and Chadwick start the school year Thursday.
Car lines at schools will fill with parents taking their children to school in the morning and picking them up each afternoon. School buses will regularly join other motorists on the roads, and when the weather is nice enough, pedestrians and bicycle traffic increases in areas around schools.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol reminds drivers that whether you have children in school or not, expect this additional traffic and prepare by allowing extra time to reach your destination.
In 2018, five people were killed and 457 people were injured in 969 traffic crashes involving school buses. Parents are encouraged to talk to their children about riding a bus, walking, or driving to school in a safe manner. If the student rides a bike, make sure they wear a helmet and follow traffic laws.
Missouri law states that on a two-lane road, if a school bus is stopped and displaying warning signals while loading or unloading children, drivers must stop when meeting and following the bus. However, it is only necessary to stop on a four-lane highway when following the bus. When you see a stopped school bus, stay alert and follow the law.
Children may not be aware of traffic and dart unexpectedly into the roadway.
Most traffic crashes involving young drivers (under the age of 21) in 2018 occurred between 3-4 p.m., when school typically lets out for the day. Many of these drivers are young and inexperienced.
The Highway Patrol asks parents to remind teen drivers that using a cell phone, texting, or adjusting the radio can be the distraction that leads to a traffic crash. Texting while driving is against state law for anyone under the age of 22.