Schools's back

drivers urged to slow down and look around

August 20, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - Area law-enforcement officials say they want motorists to be aware of children getting on and off buses when students head back to school Wednesday.

The Washington County Sheriff's Department received a school bus safety grant from the Department of State Police, deputies said in a release. Deputies will be following school buses, and said they also will be focusing on areas where there are known problems with school bus safety.

The efforts will continue throughout the 2007-08 school year, deputies said.

Drivers seen by deputies passing a school bus that is stopped and has flashing red lights will be issued citations. The fine for passing a school bus is $570 and carries three points on a Maryland driver's license, deputies said.

Officials urge drivers to slow down and watch for children getting on and off school buses.

While area officers will be enforcing school bus safety laws, AAA Mid-Atlantic also is reminding drivers, parents and students about traffic safety.


Officials said drivers might have to alter their driving behavior during the upcoming morning and afternoon commutes.

"As the new school year approaches, drivers must adjust to slower speed limits in school zones, large numbers of children gathering at neighborhood bus stops and children walking along crosswalks in busy intersections," said Ragina C. Averella, AAA spokeswoman.

"Children younger than 16 are at the highest risk of being struck by motor vehicles, and those between the ages of 10 and 15 years old have the highest injury rates in these collisions. To reduce the chances of striking a child pedestrian, motorists should diligently focus their attention on driving whenever children are present."

Safety tips

AAA offered the following safety tips:

· Slow down in school zones and residential areas, and always come to a complete stop at intersections.

· Stop for school buses and cars loading or unloading children.

· Drive with your headlights on, even during the day, so children, pedestrians and other drivers can see you.

· Use extra caution during adverse weather conditions.

· Look for clues that children are in the area (school buses, crossing guards, playgrounds, etc.).

· Resist distractions that divert your eyes from the road, especially in school zones and at bus stops.

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