summer days grow shorter, communities across
will soon be observing that
timeless annual ritual: the
first day of school. It’s
a time when parents breathe a sigh of relief and students and teachers
anticipate new beginnings and new challenges.
Unfortunately, the beginning
of school is also a time when children are at increased risk of
transportation related injuries from pedestrian, bicycle, school bus,
and motor vehicle crashes because there are many more children on the
road each morning and afternoon and many drivers’ patterns change.
Shorter daylight hours make it especially difficult to see young
pedestrians and bicyclists. So
as schools open their doors, it’s time for everyone – motorists,
parents, educators, and students – to improve their traffic safety
practices. The following
tips can help make this a safe and happy school year for the whole
Tips for Motorists
Slow down and obey all
traffic laws and speed limits.
Always stop for a school
bus that has stopped to load or unload passengers.
Red flashing lights and extended stop arm tell you the school bus
is stopped to load or unload children.
State law requires you to stop.
Watch your children walking in the street, especially where there
are no sidewalks. Watch for
children playing and gathering near bus stops. Watch for children
arriving late for the bus, who may dart into the street without looking
for traffic. When backing
out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch for children walking or
biking to school.
When driving in
neighborhoods or school zones, watch for young people who may be in a
hurry to get to school and may not be thinking about getting there
Tips for Parents
Help your children learn
to practice the safety rules for walking, bicycling, or riding in a
passenger car, school bus or transit bus.
Supervise young children
as they are walking or biking to school or as they wait at the school
Be a good role model,
especially when you are with your kids.
Always buckle up in the car, always wear a helmet when biking,
and always follow pedestrian safety rules.
Tips for Educators
Teach young children the
safety rules for traveling to school, whether it be walking, bicycling,
on a school bus, or riding in a motor vehicle.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has
developed a variety of kid-friendly materials and teaching tools.
These can be downloaded from the NHTSA’s website at www.nhtsa.dot.gov,
or you can fax your order to (202) 493-2062.
The website provides links to many other organizations and
materials related to safe school travel.
Support any “Getting to
School Safely” activities sponsored by your school, the PTA/PTO, or
other community organizations.
Be a good role model.
Always use your seat belt, wear a helmet when bicycling or riding
a motorcycle and practice pedestrian safety rules.
Tips for Students
Always buckle up when
you’re riding in a car.
Always ride in the back
seat. It’s the safest
place for young people.
Always wear your helmet
and follow traffic safety rules when riding your bike.
If you ride a school bus,
learn and practice the safety rules for waiting at the bus stop, getting
on and off the bus, and riding the bus.
If you walk to school,
learn and practice the safety rules for pedestrians.
Always cross at cross walks, obey all traffic signs, stop lights
and safety patrol instructions.
Be a good role model for
your younger brothers and sisters and friends, and help them learn and
practice the safety rules.