Fall is approaching, and with it comes shorter days and the start of the school year. Road travel increases and traffic patterns shift, so this busy time of year can also be a dangerous one – especially for our children.
Fewer daylight hours can make it harder for motorists to see young students. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, from 2004 to 2013, there were 327 school-age children who died in school-transportation-related crashes and there were more school-age pedestrians killed between the hours of 7 and 8 a.m. and between 3 and 4 p.m. than any other hours of the day.
The Allegany County Sheriff’s Office and the Allegany County Traffic Safety Board are reminding parents, students and drivers of safe transportation practices to ensure that kids arrive to and from school safely.
• Stand five giant steps from the road until the school bus arrives and wait until the driver gives the signal to board.
• When boarding the school bus, quickly find a seat, sit facing the front and follow the bus driver’s instructions.
• When exiting the bus, look out for cars. When off the bus, take 5 giant steps away from the school bus.
• Look left-right-left to make sure no cars are coming and wait for the driver to signal it's safe to cross.
Motorists should drive with extra caution around children going to/from school:
• Obey signs, signals, and crossing guards in school zones.
Drivers should remember that it is unlawful to pass a school bus when its red lights are flashing. If you are unsure if you should pass a stopped school bus, play it safe and do not pass until the flashing lights are turned off or you are signaled to do so by the driver or a police officer.
• Slow down especially with children walking/biking to school and around bus stops and in school zones and in low light or bad weather.
• Drive focused and alert at all times. Avoid use of all electronic devices and refrain from other distracting behaviors while driving.
Let’s all work together to keep our Allegany County students safe throughout this school year.
James Joyce, Traffic Safety Chair
Rick Whitney, Allegany County Sheriff