With schools set to open next week, officials are warning motorists to drive carefully and exercise extra caution around students in support of AAA’s annual “School’s Open - Drive Carefully” campaign.
The New York State Department of Transportation and state police are teaming with AAA to support the safety campaign, which is designed to alert motorists to the risks students face from motor vehicle crashes, which police said is the leading cause of death for children between 5 and 14 years old.
Throughout the state, AAA will distribute thousands of colorful posters to various municipalities to remind drivers there are children and school buses flooding the streets every September. The posters will be displayed at major intersections, business districts and school crossings. Upwards of 14,000 bumper stickers with the same message also will be circulated.
The campaign begins on Aug. 30 and extends through Oct. 13. Officials from the DOT also issued an alert reminding drivers that everyone, in every lane, on every roadway, must come to a complete stop for school buses with flashing lights.
"With traffic safety a top priority for our agency, we will once again ramp up enforcement and raise driver awareness as school buses return to our roads and our children walk our sidewalks,” State Police Superintendent George Beach II stated. “We ask that parents, friends and neighbors spread the word and work with law enforcement year round. Please pay attention behind the wheel to make sure our kids stay safe.”
Eastchester Police Chief Timothy Bonci asked parents to "remind your children to look both ways; cross only at corners; obey police officers and school guards; watch for turning cars and be especially alert in bad weather."
Police Major Joseph Dodd noted that there is a “need to show extra caution when driving as schools reopen, since it is then that vacation-minded children are apt to be less careful. Motorists should be particularly alert for children darting out between parked cars on busy streets.
“This is an ideal time for all of us to remember the importance of devoting our full attention to driving, and commit to eliminating distractions such as cell phones and electronics in our vehicles, in an effort to enhance the safety of school children.”
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