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Drivers Beware: NJ is Back-to-School [AUDIO]

As New Jersey students head back to school, the safety experts are reminding students, parents and motorists to be safe on the road and on the streets now that kids are back in the classroom.

Kids Walking to School
Flickr User Elizabeth

“In a school zone, there’s a lot going on between pedestrians, school buses and students being dropped off,” said Gary Poedubicky, acting director of the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “It is vitally important that motorists be alert and be aware of their surroundings and that students adhere to pedestrian rules around their school, like only crossing the street at the crosswalk.”

About 1.3 million students in New Jersey will be walking, bicycling, driving or riding to school.

Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death of children in the state. In fact, in the last three years alone, 71 children under the age of 18 were killed in motor vehicle accidents, including 21 pedestrians.

“It’s very important for motorists to not be distracted and to be aware of their surroundings,” said Poedubicky. “At the same time, students need to obey all of the pedestrian rules and to be aware of all the traffic safety rules and regulations. It’s also important for parents to lead by example and to be good role models. They should also continue talking to their children and practice good safety rules.”

Poedubicky offers the following tips to motorists and students:

Motorists:

  • Be aware of children walking to and from bus stops, as they might not be paying attention and dart into the road.
  • Be aware of school zone signage and reduce speed in school zones.
  • Be patient and wait for children to complete their crossing before proceeding. The law now requires motorists to stop and remain stopped for pedestrians in crosswalks.
  • Do not text while driving.

Students:

  • Always stop, look and listen before crossing.
  • Always cross at the crosswalk and obey all traffic lights and crossing guard instructions.
  • Try to arrive at the bus stop early so you are never rushing to catch the bus. Always wait at least six feet from the curb and don’t approach the bus until it comes to a complete stop.

Click here for more safety tips.

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