HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Local officials and law enforcement agencies are teaming up to spread awareness about school traffic safety as classes are almost back in session.
Horry County Council, Horry County Police and South Carolina Highway Patrol are working together to promote this campaign. Councilman Johnny Vaught said when kids go back to school, it can take a few weeks for parents to get used to traffic patterns after having summer off. This can increase congestion levels, and local officials want to ensure back to school season is as safe as it can be.
"We're talking about a public awareness thing of letting people know that schools back in and the traffic patterns are going to change around the school," said Vaught, "because the people who don't have kids in school, they don't know when school starts and when school doesn't start."
Vaught said parents should also be aware they need to learn the new traffic patterns to drop their kids off if they are bringing their child to a new school they are not familiar with.
Parents can expect to see an increased police presence around school zones, stopping those who speed and directing traffic when areas start experiencing backups and delays.
Law enforcement officials want to remind drivers and students to pay attention to crosswalks, look out for stopped school buses and flashing or not flashing school zone speed limit signs.
South Carolina Highway Patrol Cpl. Sonny Collins said if a school has a traffic pattern, police officers are asking parents to use that pattern to pick up and drop off their kids to keep them safe. Because those flashing school zone signs haven't been on all summer and those school speed limits haven't been in effect, it's important to remember that will all be changing soon.
"Just be mindful that we're going to have kids standing out there beside the roadway in the early morning hours waiting on these buses," said Collins, "That's probably the biggest thing. Patience the first few days, understand there's going to be more traffic, and lets watch out for those kids at these bus stops."
Collins said if you have to travel to or through a school zone, you should give yourself some extra time before leaving the house to avoid losing time over any traffic delays you may run into.
This will be an effort among all law enforcement agencies.
The campaign was started two weeks before school is back in session and is anticipated to last until two to three weeks after school begins.