LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Hundreds of thousands of Los Angeles Unified students returned to the classrooms Tuesday for their first day of the school year.
L.A. Unified is the second largest school district in the nation, with more than 670,00 students over 1,300 campuses, including early and adult education programs. It's also the second largest employer in L.A. County.
The school district operates nearly 1,600 bus routes transporting just under 40,000 students, with the remaining 630,000 walking or being driven to school.
"We're going to see more traffic on the roadways as more school buses are dropping children off, more parents are driving kids to school. So we have to prepare ourselves - leave early for work and prepare for those additional obstacles out there on the roadway." said Doug Shupe, Auto Club of Southern California. "Look at your route to and from work and adjust that route if you can to avoid school zones."
Shupe says the new school year is not only potentially frustrating for commuters, but also a dangerous time for children.
"This is a time of year when kids are very excited, they could dart between parked cars on the side of the road, you have to be completely focused on the road ahead," he said.
It's a message AAA wants parents to share with their young students as they urge students to also be careful and aware.
"A lot of these tips are common sense. Obeying the speed limit, coming to a complete stop at stop signs and stopping for the school buses," Shupe said. "But sadly, a lot of people get into the hustle and bustle of their day and they forget about these common tips that keep kids safe."
LAUSD starts new school year as officials warn of increased traffic congestion