LOUISIANA (KLFY) — State troopers are urging drivers across the state to be cautious of school zones as students are returning to school across the state. Most school zones are from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. However, some zones have slightly different times to look out for.

Drivers should practice extra care and be especially aware of school zone speed limits, school buses loading or unloading children, and children walking or biking to school.

As for school bus safety, all traffic must stop no less than 30 feet from a school bus when the stop signals on the bus are activated.  A vehicle approaching a stopped school bus from the opposite direction does not have to stop when traffic is separated by a divided median.

Louisiana State Police also want to remind drivers:

•Louisiana Law states that no person shall operate any wireless communication device, which includes texting and any social media, while operating a motor vehicle during the posted hours within a school zone. School zones across Louisiana are hands-free zones, so put that cell phone down while driving

• School crossing guards have the authority to direct vehicles through intersections when traffic lights are red and to stop vehicles when the traffic lights are green. Motorists who are approaching school zones are urged to pay attention to the school crossing guards for hand instructions.

Motorists should expect traffic congestion and possible delays near school zones.  It is important for each driver to be patient with the increased traffic and allow extra time to arrive safely at their destination.  Remember to always buckle up and insist that ALL occupants in the vehicle are buckled up as well.  Keeping these safety tips in mind will help assure a safe school year not only for our children, but for the motoring public as well.