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With more students back in the classroom, increased traffic may feel like a shock


For 50,000 students at Hawaiʻi’s private schools, community colleges and universities, it’s time to head back to school.

The state Department of Transportation is reminding everyone that as the summer winds down, traffic goes up.

Although the back-to-school season always causes congestion, this year is expected to be especially challenging.

The pandemic kept much of the student population at home for the past two years. With more attending in-person classes this term, the increased traffic may feel like a shock.

The DOT’s Beat the School Jam Campaign urges drivers to remain safe on the roads.

“Stalls and crashes comprise over a third of the delays that everyone sees in the system,” said Deputy Director of Highways Ed Sniffen. “One minute of delay because of a stall or a crash equals a six-minute delay for everybody else.”

The DOT advises all drivers to maintain their vehicles by following service schedules and filling up on fuel. People should also plan their routes ahead of time and sign up for the department’s roadwork notices.

City and state officials hope drivers will keep keiki in mind when they set out for their morning commutes.

“If you feel the need to press that gas and take advantage of a gap you see, imagine a loved one walking in front of the car,” said Emily Evans, the branch administrator for the Department of Education Student Transportation Services.

About half of all public school students live within the walk zones of their schools, and 60,000 more will be riding school buses. When a school bus flashes its red stop sign, drivers must stop in both directions or face a $500 fine.

Emily Tom was a temporary digital news producer in summer 2023 and an intern in summer 2022.
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