LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Students are less than three days away from the official start of school and that means lots of changes for valley drivers in school zones.
Outside of West Prep Elementary school on the city's Historic Westside, there are six lanes of traffic that kids must walk across to get from local neighborhoods to their school. Unfortunately, there are many schools across the Valley facing the same issue of having crosswalks in dangerous travel areas.
"This illustrates some of the challenges of kids having to cross six lanes of travel as they go to and from school through the neighborhoods," said Captain Carlos Hank.
Capt. Hank works with the Las Vegas Metro Police Department, and over the years, he's learned some troubling statistics on the number of students injured or killed each year in school zones throughout the valley.
"Last year between 2019 and 2020, 42 children were injured, being hit by vehicles, one child is too many. Next week we're going to have over 310,000 people returning to school, that includes 38,000 school employees and educators," said Captain Hank.
After more than a year of no in-person school, some folks may have acquired some less-than-safe driving habits like speeding or using their phones behind the wheel. CCSD police are urging drivers to pay attention and slow down.
Lt. Bryan Zink, Public Information Officer with the CCSD Police Department says they are expecting a lot of traffic come Aug. 9. He says to be extra aware, as some students will be experiencing their first time walking to campus.
"School zones are going to be crowded. We are going to have a lot of parents that have never dropped their kids off at school they're anxious, their kids are anxious, the schools are anxious, so let's just slow down, pay attention, and take our time," said Lieutenant Zink.
Clark county, CCSD Police, and the North Las Vegas police departments are all coming together ahead of the academic year to mitigate safety issues, and that means an increased police presence on valley roads.
"Any time you approach a school zone, it will be 15 mph, any time you approach a crossing zone, it will be 25 mph. If you go faster than the posted speed limit, it will be a ticket," said Captain Hank.
A good tip for drivers is to be vigilant and cautious.
"Kids are unpredictable, they may have left their tablet at home, or left something at home and may dart in front of you. Take heed to those safety cues. Pay attention and pack your patience, quite literally lives are at stake, little kids lives are at stake," said Captain Hank.
Something else that some parents and drivers may not think about are the "No U-turn" signs. Local law enforcement is reminding drivers that tickets will be given to those breaking the law in any school zone.