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Back to School-Safe Driving

School is back in session January 14, 2019 for many schools in Washoe County. The second half of the school year commences after the three week holiday break and both adult and child both dread and welcome the return to class. However, it is always important to remember that the hustle and bustle of drop off and pick up time plus winter weather this time of year can equal a deadly situation for those both in vehicle and on foot.

Each year in the United States at least 100 children are killed and 25,000 children are injured in school zone accidents. These statistics alone are alarming, yet children only account for about one fifth of school zone accident victims, the majority are adults.

Though school zone accidents have decreased in recent years, in thanks to rigorous enforcement of traffic laws in school zones, the death rate has increased in children over the age of 12. This increase is thought to be attributed to the increase in number of kids using electronic devices while crossing the street.

While both pedestrians and drivers hold responsibility over school zone accidents, it is the driver’s ultimate responsibility to exercise extra caution while driving in a school zone. Below are some tips to help drivers ensure they never find themselves responsible for a school zone accident.

  • Always obey school zone speed limits, ensure you are entering the school zone at the limit and not still slowing down as you enter.
  • Never use your cellphone while driving near a school.
  • If you drop children off at school, attempt to drop them off in an area where they will not be required to cross a street.
  • Never pass a school bus if the bus has extended its stop sign.
  • Never double park while dropping children off; this blocks visibility for other vehicles and for children.
  • If possible, carpool to reduce the number of vehicles at the school.
  • Never block the crosswalk while stopped at a red light or waiting to turn.
  • Always stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection.
  • Stop at least 10 feet from the back of a school bus to allow children enough space to safely enter and exit the bus.

It is our responsibility to ensure pedestrians make it home to their families each night. Practice safe driving skills and patience at all times.