By Rachel Hatzipanagos
Fairfax County Public Schools students head back to school Tuesday morning, and police are reminding drivers to be cautious.
According to local authorities, 2012 saw a total of 1,500 citations written for infractions involving school zones and buses, including 961 for speeding in a school crossing and 194 for passing a stopped school bus.
In nearby Arlington County, police are actively increasing traffic enforcement in and around school zones.
Fairfax police released the following safety tips:
It is illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped to load and unload children.
When bus lights and stop signs are activated, vehicles must stop in both directions unless they are separated from the bus by a median.
The area of 10 feet around a bus is where children are in the most danger of being struck. Stop your car far enough from the bus to allow children the necessary space to enter and exit the bus.
Be alert. Children are unpredictable. Children walking or biking may appear suddenly and quickly; pay attention at all times.
Be patient. There will be additional vehicles on our roadways; some motorists may be learning new routes to schools and this may temporarily impact traffic flows on various roadways.
Drivers should not block crosswalks. Allow pedestrians ample space to walk safely.
Always stop when directed to do so by a police officer or crossing guard.
Children may be difficult to see. Take extra care to look out for children near schools, neighborhoods, playgrounds and parks.
Don't honk your horn or rev your engine to scare pedestrians