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Back to School Safety

As a new school year approaches, the Albemarle County Police Department would like to provide a few school safety reminders. For the first day of school on Wednesday, the ACPD will have additional officers monitoring areas around the schools and along bus routes. School Resource Officers and patrol officers will be on hand to help direct traffic and ensure a safe commute for the start of the new school year.

Drivers should be extra vigilant of buses which are loading and unloading students. Virginia Code 46.2-859 requires the driver of a motor vehicle to stop when approaching, from any direction, any school bus which is stopped, with warning devices activated, on any highway, private road or school driveway for the purpose of taking on or discharging children and shall remain stopped until all the persons are clear.

A bus with red flashing lights activated and the extended stop arm out indicates that the bus has stopped and that children are loading or unloading. Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing and the extended stop arm is withdrawn before proceeding.

Drivers should use caution but are not required to stop when approaching a school bus if the bus is stopped on a divided highway (travel lanes which are separated by a physical barrier or unpaved area).

All complaints of drivers not stopping for school buses are investigated. This is important for the safety of our school students.

Drivers should also allow extra time in their morning commute and be prepared for changes along their normal driving routes. Expect to see children and parents at bus stops along the roads and highways. Additionally, in areas around schools, slow down for pedestrians and bicycle traffic.

There are 26 schools in Albemarle County and around 13,100 students enrolled in the division. Out of those 13,100 students, nearly 8,000 ride the bus to school every day. The 150 buses cover 14,000 square miles every day on Albemarle County roadways.

Please remember to slow down and help us as we work to keep students and roadways safe in Albemarle County. Students and teachers, have a great first day!

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