NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ The Tennessee Highway Patrol is urging extra caution by drivers as the new school year gets underway statewide.

Troopers issued nearly 1,400 more citations last academic year than during the year before. The total was 5,247 citations. The number does not include those written by city and county officers.

THP Col. Tracy Trott said the safety effort stretches beyond school zones to motorists who are taking children to school and drivers near school buses.

State figures show there has been a 7 percent decrease in crashes in school zones before and after classes between 2008 and 2012. More significantly, there was a 73.5 percent decrease in the number of school bus-related crashes.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates about 600,000 students ride school buses in Tennessee each class day.