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Police warning drivers to watch out for buses, school children

WINCHESTER, Ky. (WKYT) - School begins this week and next for many districts across the Commonwealth.

State police are sending out strong warnings to drivers to stay alert. WKYT spoke with families in Clark County Wednesday night. For them, school starts Thursday. As we found out, a lot of their bus drivers have already put in extra hours of preparation to keep their children safe on the roads.

Morning commutes in Winchester are about to get a bit busier. Students head back to school Thursday.

"When you see a school bus, there's kids in the area," explains Paul Christy. Christy, with Clark County Public Schools, has had his drivers take on extra training this year. They're prepared not only to handle regular safety procedures, but also medical emergencies and student bullying on buses. State police have already warned drivers across the state to be careful this week and the next, as buses hit the road.

"They're well marked, they're well lit, with the strobe lights and all the flashing lights when they're stopping, those will be going off around the bus, around all directions of the bus," notes Christy.

A lot of drivers WKYT spoke with plan to slow down Thursday, when they see buses on the roads. Drivers also plan to take a few extra minutes to get to work.

"It's just easier for everybody to slow down and take it easy, allow a lot of time," says Winchester driver Ashley Morton.

Clark County High School graduate Jacob Koch warns drivers of the most congested areas in Winchester, "if you're coming from Boone Avenue, it can get pretty close to the buses, and people try to weave in and out, and you can clip mirrors and stuff like that."

School administrators say the areas directly surrounding schools are often times the busiest. They're asking Thursday's drivers to stay alert and have a little patience.

"Especially these first few days until students get aware of where the buses are and exactly what the procedures for the buses are," says Christy.

State police say statewide last year there were more than 1600 school bus related crashes. In those crashes, police say five people died and 506 were injured.

State police are reminding drivers they take passing school buses very seriously. If you're caught passing while it is loading or unloading, it's considered a misdemeanor and you could be charged.

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