With the new school year about to start, safety is a priority for drivers operating near school zones who'll need to keep their eyes out for incoming students.

That's why EPS is sending out a reminder to drivers to be on the lookout, especially during the first week when students are still thinking of summer.

EPS Chief Rich Lowen describes how they try to inform people to slow down in school zones.

"First, we just want to get the message out to people, we start doing that with our social media and the information that goes along with the SGI messaging. Some of that messaging will be to slow down, we want people to slow down in school zones, and understand that when you reduce your speed it gives you more time to react."

There are a number of things drivers should be aware of, including younger students who may not be aware of nearby cars.

"We want people to be alert as we start September here. There are going to be drop-off times, so there'll need to pay attention to the kids crossing the streets. Watch around any parked cars, that sort of thing, and watch for the school patrols as well. We like to make people aware of stragglers that run behind and try to catch up to their friends, just realize they're little kids trying to catch up and watch for them."

He also recommends people stay cautious around school buses and for parents dropping off their kids to use common sense.

EPS officers will also be around school zones, to make sure people are following rules meant to keep everyone safe.

"We will be around to make sure we remind people to adjust their driving and do it safely. Our members are just as aware as the public that it's school time and we need to be watching out for those things."

Officers are also going to be making their way into schools, both to help out with any problems and to give presentations to try and prevent those problems.

"We like to work together with the schools and stay in touch with them to see what their needs are and adjust to whatever those needs are, whether that be more patrols through school or if they need us to come and give any presentations to remind kids to stay safe, whether that's driving safety or evens safety in regards to electronic communication and cyber crime and things like that."

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