First Day of School Creates Influx of Traffic - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

First Day of School Creates Influx of Traffic

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The first day of school has now come and gone for students in Bay County. That means more school-zone traffic, especially around pick up and drop off times.

There are not only are more cars and school buses on the road, but more kids are walking and biking to school and bus stops.

"The first day of school is very important to us, especially for the little kids out there," said Panama City Beach Police Chief Drew Whitman. "The local kids they are excited, the ones who are going to their first day of kindergarten or the younger kids who are going back to see their friends for the first time. They are not paying attention.. they are excited about going to school.

The Panama City Beach Police Department brought in more staff to cover the heavy traffic times. The PCB Fire Department also helped direct traffic.  

"The rest of the year it will drop down to just one or two officers, but the first couple days of school it's all hands on deck. We want to make sure the kids get to school safely."

The first couple of days are a little chaotic for students and parents, so drivers should plan ahead for traffic delays.

"Just be patient, leave a little earlier to get your kids there on time. If you are running late, your bosses will understand. Most bosses have had kids and they know school is important."

School zones are clearly marked with yellow flashing lights. In those areas, the speed limit drops down to 15 or 20 miles per hour.

"We will issue citations if we need to, but we are trying to educate people before that happens. When you see 10 officers and that many blue lights, almost everybody slows down. Don't be in a big hurry, you don't want to take someone's life just because you are trying to save a couple seconds to try to get to work or to get home."

Chief Whitman says the traffic does seem to die down a little bit after the excitement from the first week is over.