HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - It's nearly back-to-school time and in Huntsville, police are issuing strong warnings for drivers, especially in school zones.
They're getting ready to launch a big traffic operation to keep kids safe.
"We want the public to know that we will be strictly enforcing the speed limit which is generally 25 mph in most of our school zones. The first offense can range from a minimum of a $150 fine all the way up to a fourth offense. If you get convicted a fourth time for speeding in school zone, it can be a felony," said Lt. Michael Johnson, public information officer for the Huntsville Police Department.
HPD is also urging drivers to be cautious around school buses as they're out on the roads picking up and dropping off children.
"Treat the stop sign signal on the side of a bus just like a stop sign. When the stop sign is extended, you're to stop in both directions on any of the city streets until the sign is retracted," Johnson stated.
Motorists should also keep an eye out for public safety aides, or crossing guards. They wear an HPD dress uniforms with a traffic vest, and they will be out at intersections controlling traffic.
"We want the public to understand that they have to pay attention to these crossing guards. When they say stop, that means stop. When they hold their hand out or the front or back part of their vest is facing you, that means stop. If you do not stop, it's just like running a stop sign. You can be charged with running a stop sign," Lt. Johnson explained.
Police ask parents to talk to their kids about best safety practices for when they're coming and going from school. Drivers are reminded not to be distracted behind the wheel.
"Pay attention to your surroundings as you approach these school zones. It's very important so you know when to slow down. There are flashing yellow signs in these areas to let you know that there is a school zones but you have to pay attention and look for them," Johnson said.
The Huntsville Police Department has partnered with Community Watch to collect school supplies for kids in need. From now through August 3rd, you can drop off donations at any precinct lobby between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. All of the donations will go to the Boys and Girls Club.
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