The Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) reminds drivers that many schools throughout the state are starting the 2017-2018 school year. This brings a change in traffic patterns — school buses and parents taking their children to school will join other motorists on the road and affect the morning and afternoon commute.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) reminds drivers that many schools throughout the state are starting the 2017-2018 school year. This brings a change in traffic patterns — school buses and parents taking their children to school will join other motorists on the road and affect the morning and afternoon commute.

It is critical for drivers to be alert, especially near school zones, playgrounds, and bicycle paths. Whatever route you drive, expect this additional traffic and prepare by allowing extra time to reach your destination.

Most traffic crashes involving young drivers (under the age of 21) in 2016 occurred between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., when school typically lets out. Drivers need to be aware of the increased traffic during this time — not just in areas around school, but all around town. Many of these drivers are young and inexperienced. Parents, tt is important to encourage those young drivers to remember driving is a full-time job. Using a cell phone, texting or adjusting the radio can be the distraction that leads to a traffic crash. Texting is against the law for anyone under the age of 22.

Missouri law states that on a two-lane road, if a school bus is stopped and displaying warning signals while loading or unloading children, drivers must stop when meeting and following the bus. However, it is only necessary to stop on a four-lane highway when following the bus. Drivers, when you see a stopped school bus, stay alert and follow the law. Children may not be aware of traffic and dart unexpectedly into the roadway.

In 2016, one person was killed and 389 people were injured in school bus crashes. Missouri experienced 974 traffic crashes involving school buses last year. Parents are encouraged to talk to their children about riding a bus, walking or driving to school in a safe manner. If they ride a bike, please make sure they wear a helmet and follow traffic laws. Let’s help Missouri students return to school safely.

The only 100 percent survivable crash is the one that never happens. Make sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained in a seat belt or child restraint. Every day as we travel on Missouri’s roadways, we trust that every driver on the road is going to obey the speed limit, pay attention and drive sober. “Don’t Violate The Trust.”