The Oak Ridge Police Department reminds the community it is back to school time for our children. When it comes to the safety of our youth, there can be no margin for error. The well-being of our children is one of the highest of priorities at the Oak Ridge Police Department.

Motorists are urged to drive safely in and around school zones, especially during arrival and dismissal times. The beginning of the school year is a time when there is a greater risk of transportation-related injuries to children.

The Oak Ridge Police Department will initiate OPERATION SAFE START on August 11th (first day of school), and every division of the Police Department will be utilized to strictly enforce traffic ordinances in and around school zones.

Partnering with ORPD this year will be several members of the Tennessee Highway Patrol motor squad, along with marked units.

Officers will be assigned to enforce all traffic laws and ordinances, and will be targeting drivers who exceed posted speed limits in school zones, drive past school bus warning devices (flashing lights with stop arms), ignore pedestrian rights-of-way (especially in crosswalks), fail to comply with seat belt laws, and demonstrate distracted driving behavior, such as texting while driving.

The Police Department offers the following tips for motorists:

  • Slow down. Observe the speed limit in school zones at all times.
  • Be especially careful when driving on neighborhood streets in and around school zones. Always expect the unexpected.
  • Be alert for youngsters walking to and from school zones as you back out of your driveway or leave your garage.
  • Watch for children on bicycles, especially at intersections and driveways.
  • Stop your car when you see lights flashing on a school bus. Red flashing lights indicate that the bus is stopped and students are loading or disembarking. Do not proceed until the red lights stop flashing and the roadway is clear. Be aware that a child may dash across the street.
  • Always remember, pedestrians have the right-of-way.
Contact: Captain Robin Smith,, 865-202-4006