Escanaba Public Safety, Delta County Sheriff using drones to analyze traffic patterns

ESCANABA, Mich. (WLUC) - Parents, students, even educators at Webster Elementary School in Escanaba looked up on Monday and saw a drone hovering above.

This is part of an ongoing effort to keep kids in school zones safe.

"Keeping kids safe is priority number one, we want them in the school building safe and sound and this is just part of doing that," says Escanaba Area Public Schools Superintendent Coby Fletcher.

For the next two weeks, Escanaba Public Safety and the Delta County Sheriff's Office are flying drones above area schools, such as Webster, Lemmer, and the Upper Elementary.

"This is not to try and get people for speeding, this is just to get an aerial view of the kids coming and going from schools and the traffic congestion in those areas," says Robert LaMarche, Director of Escanaba Public Safety.

Superintendent Fletcher says this congestion has been a problem in the past, and the location of the school campuses makes crossing the street dangerous for some students.

"You have a crosswalk that goes across Ludington Street, which is a very busy downtown street and its four lanes of traffic that go both directions," says Fletcher. "And so it can be a little dangerous for kids to cross that street."

Public Safety says they're hoping the birds-eye view can help them pin point areas that need to be addressed.

"We've already taken measures here at the council meeting last week to put in some more stop signs in and around the intersections," says LaMarche. "This may be a way to determine if we need more, or if there's anything else we can do to try and improve."

Director LaMarche says once the data from those drone flyings is collected and analyzed, they're going to use it to try and find a long-term solution.

Until then, drivers are urged to use caution when driving through school zones, and to pay attention to the crossing guards in place.