HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Monday, Aug. 5 marks the start of a new school year for Huntsville City Schools.
As students head back to the classroom, police will be working to keep them safe with big traffic safety operation.
"We have 70 manned posts for schools in our area. Every morning and every evening, they will be manned by police officers and 88 public safety aides. They are civilians who come out to help our children cross the road," explained Huntsville Police Chief Mark McMurray.
The Safety Patrol Aides function the same as a stop sign or traffic light. If you disobey one of them, you will be cited, the chief stressed.
Huntsville police say there's a zero tolerance policy for those who speed in a school zone. It's something the chief says his officer take seriously.
“Don’t think you can do one mile an hour over 25 in a school zone and get away with it. These children deserve the obedience to traffic laws,” McMurray said.
HPD has a multi-layered approach to traffic enforcement: uniform officers who know their zones, traffic service specialists that look at statistics and generate hot spots to patrol, radar, educational campaigns like Summer Slowdown, message boards showing a driver’s speed, DUI enforcement and traffic calming devices. The department asks drivers to watch their speed and watch for children now that schools will be back in session.
“It’s going to change driving times. There’s going to be more drivers on the roadways. It’s going to change patterns in the areas where there are schools. It’s going to slow traffic down in those areas,” stated Sgt. Stephen Anderson with HPD Traffic Services.
“We will be out there in police cars but we will also have public safety aides out there directing traffic. The radar guns will be turned on for at least the first two weeks, just to get everyone reminded to slow down in these areas,” Chief McMurray added.
Driver inattention, speed and tailgating lead to most of the accident in the city, according to officials.
"I'm grateful to Huntsville Police for launching their Summer Slowdown campaign. Their theme is to drive smarter, not faster. We need to take this campaign to a year-round effort," said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle.
“Traffic flow is about to change around our schools so think about how you get to school, how you get to work. Give yourself some time to get through these zones and that will help out a lot,” urged Chief McMurray.