Editorial: Be alert; school is back in session

Published 12:17 pm Sunday, September 4, 2016

School will be back in session at Austin Public Schools come Tuesday — though Sumner Elementary School and Woodson Kindergarten Center’s 45/15 classes have been back since Aug. 1. — and with that comes a bustling of activity on the streets.

Crossing guards are back on street corners. School buses are out in full force, and there are more pedestrians and bicyclists.

Since children do not always following the rules of the road, motorists needed to exercise a heightened awareness in and around school zones.

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According to Safe Kids Minnesota, traffic injuries are a leading cause of injury and death among young children and teenagers.

Fatal crashes are most likely to occur during morning and afternoon rush hour periods from 6 to 9 a.m. or from 3 to 6 p.m. About one-third of pedestrian crashes and 70 percent of school bus crashes also occur during this time.

For a safer trip to and from school, the Minnesota Safety Council and Safe Kids Minnesota recommend:

• If walking, choose the safest route to school, walk it with children and review basic rules about crossing streets.

• When driving, be sure kids are buckled up properly and check with the school about designated drop-off areas.

• Teach children to be alert to traffic when getting on and off the school bus and to make eye contact with the driver before crossing in the front of the bus.

• For bikers, check that helmets and bikes are a good fit, assess and strengthen biking skills, plan the route, and practice riding it.

• For teen drivers, reinforce driving practice, buckling up and limits on number of passengers.

The two organizations also remind drivers to be extra alert near schools, school buses and bus stops.