Barrie police issue reminder for drivers as new school year approaches. (KC Colby/CTV Barrie)

One week from today, students across the province will be back at school – and parents are already focusing on strategies to make sure their kids get to class, and back home, safely.

“We always hold hands, even when she’s walking to cross the street,” says Barrie parent Amanda Tucker.

Barrie Police say there’s a zero tolerance policy for distracted driving, and officers will be on the lookout for drivers ignoring posted speed limits, especially in school zones.

“We drive the same roads every day. The signs haven’t changed, you just have to be aware of your surroundings, and be aware of the kids,” says Constable Chris Allport.

Officers are also asking parents to have conversations with their kids about waiting curbside patiently until it’s safe to cross the street.

“Take the time to sit down with the kids and do a little review of safety school tips,” says Constable Sarah Bamford. “Take those earphones out and headphones off, you can’t be riding a bicycle safely if you’re plugged into a phone or other device listening to music.”

Drivers should also expect to see more school busses on the road, and be prepared to follow the rules when the safety arm goes out.

“The people who think that the kids aren’t getting off fast enough, or feel they can get around before, or those who pass on the passenger side door, it’s dangerous,” says school bus driver Nakia Kyriakyu.

In fact, police say road safety is one of the most important lessons of the year for both drivers and students.

“Road safety and pedestrian safety is a shared responsibility, and we want the first day of school to be a safe day for everybody,” says Constable Bamford.

Source: CTV News