Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Department ramps up patrols ahead of school year traffic

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Hundreds of school students in Tuscaloosa City and County schools will be heading back to the classroom Tuesday morning to begin the school year.

With so much extra traffic expected on the roads in the morning along with rainy weather conditions, Tuscaloosa County Sheriff Ron Abernathy is urging drivers to take it slow.

“We just want to stress with school starting tomorrow how important it is to be aware that children will be out the roadway, buses at school stops,” Abernathy said. “And we just want to emphasize to all our citizens commuting to be careful and to be aware of that situation. And you might want to give yourself an additional 15 or 20 minutes because it will be more congested than what you are typically used too.”

The Sheriff says he will have extra deputies on patrol in school zones in the county. School resource officers will also be on hand to make sure drivers are obeying traffic laws.

Renee Long’s daughter is a senior at Central Elementary school. Knowing more officers will be on patrol always makes her feel better as her daughter gets ready for the first day of school.

“Everyone needs to work together because you have a lot of drivers who don’t pay attention when the weather is bad and it raining during bad weather,” Long said. “Some drive fast and some drive slow. So I think it’s safer to have more cops out to patrol for the safety of the kids as well as the drivers.”

Sheriff Spokesperson Deputy Jason Powell says speeding fines double in school zones. Offenders can expect to pay a $260 dollar fine if they are caught speeding. Powell also says anyone who passes a school bus while the red stop sign is out can pay tickets up to $300 dollars.

Sheriff Abernathy just wants every driver to play it smart especially since the weather could make the early morning commute more dangerous.

“Just remember with all the wet weather we are having, your braking is dramatically different on a dry surface compared to a wet surface. So always keep that mind especially this week with the kids getting back in school”.

The Tuscaloosa County sheriff says extra deputies will patrol school zones for the entire school year.


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