With the start of school just around the corner, school zone safety is a top priority for local law enforcement.
The Fulton Police Department and the Callaway County Sheriff's Office plan to step up enforcement in school zones once the school year kicks off.
"School zones are our top priority for us when it comes to traffic enforcement," said Major Roger Rice of the Fulton Police Department. "People forget during the summer months that the school zones are 20 mph and the fines are doubled."
Additionally, Missouri Highway Patrol wants to remind drivers of how traffic patterns will change when school begins.
According to the MSHP, Missouri law states 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. In 2018 five people were killed and 457 injured in 969 traffic crashes involving school buses.
"With schools around the county opening in the coming days, we ask our residents to be cognizant of both school zones and bus traffic on the secondary roadways," Callaway County Sheriff Clay Chism said.
The MSHP also wants parents of young drivers to encourage them to treat driving as a "full-time job" and to avoid distractions, such as texting while driving. According to the MSHP, most crashes involving drivers 21 and younger occur between 3-4 p.m.
Rice explained the FPD will use laser-operated speed detectors to monitor speeding in school zones. Chism said the school resource officers assigned at the districts of North Callaway, South Callaway and New Bloomfield will assist with traffic enforcement in the morning and afternoon hours.
"People don't generally speed (in school zones) on purpose — they just aren't paying attention," Rice said. "People just need to be extra careful.