August is Back to School Safety Month and Tony Pirani from Cadell Reynolds gave Good Day NWA some good advice on how to keep our kids safe as they walk and ride to school.

Buses will soon be back on the roads filled with kids going to and from school. Here is what you need to know about sharing the road with school buses.

  • It is illegal in Arkansas to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or drop off children, this includes traffic traveling in the opposite direction as well.
  • Never pass a bus from behind – or from either direction if you’re on an undivided road – if it is stopped to load or unload children.
  • If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop.
  • The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children. Stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus.
  • Be alert. Children often are unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks.

Some teens have the responsibility of driving themselves to school. Research tells us that teens are the largest age group reported as distracted at the time of a fatal crash. Texting is clearly a dangerous distraction. In 2015 alone, 3,477 people were killed, and 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. Keep these things in mind when driving to keep your ride safe:

  • Have a safe, well-instructed driver behind the wheel.
  • The car shouldn’t move until everyone is buckled up.
  • Use appropriate car seats and booster seats for younger passengers. Every child under 13 must ride in the back seat – no exceptions.
  • Remember that the phone stays down when you’re driving!

Be cautious driving near high school campuses. Keep in mind that a higher amount of the motorists are newly licensed teenage drivers who may not have as much driving know-how as you do. 

Drivers don’t have to worry about school zones in the summer. Here are some rules these zones require you to obey:

  • When children are on or around school property, school zones require you to obey the posted 25 mph or slower speed limit, regardless of the day of week or time of day.
  • For example, if it’s a Friday night at 10 p.m. and you are in a school zone when kids are present (maybe a football game just ended), you are still required to adjust your speed to obey the slower school zone speed limit.
  • When you slow down for pedestrians, you not only make yourself a safer driver, but you also help other drivers who may not see the obstacles you do.
  • When pedestrians see you slowing down, their natural intuition will kick in and they too will slow down to see what potential hazard may lie ahead.
  • Watch out for school crossing guards and obey their signals.