With the Labor Day holiday behind us, students across Livingston County are heading back to school and local authorities remind motorists to be on the lookout before, during and after school hours.

Younger children will be out around schools and in neighborhoods where they haven’t been seen in a few months, notably during rush hour. With many children and students walking or biking to school or even the bus stop, local motorists are reminded to use extra caution when traveling.

Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy tells WHMI their job is a lot easier if people pay attention to their surroundings and what’s going on. He says they want everyone to get off on the right foot as the back to school season starts. Murphy asks that students pay a lot of attention to traffic and their surroundings – noting if they see anything suspicious, they need to report that to an adult or 911 depending on the situation. Murphy says now is also a good time for parents to review bus stop safety with their children and stress that all drivers do not pay attention so they should maintain a safe distance from the road and make sure their bus is completely stopped.

Meanwhile, motorists are reminded to follow speed limits, especially in and around school zones and obey all signs, signals and markings. The afternoon hours are said to be particularly dangerous for walking children. AAA Michigan says more than one-third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones so it’s important to always come to a complete stop and check for children on sidewalks and in crosswalks before proceeding.

Murphy says one big complaint is school bus flasher violations, when people pass school buses with their red flashing lights on – which is against the law. He noted the Sheriff’s Office has started a Community Outreach Program and deputies will be on buses periodically to enforce laws by relaying information to another deputy of a flasher violation.

Murphy says the intent is to make sure people follow the law and kids are safe, adding he’s looking forward to see what the outcome there is and hopefully they’ll change some habits with local drivers. (JM)