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School's Open:
Please Drive Carefully

Driving past the school near my house the other day, I slowed to a stop to allow some children to cross the street. As I sat there waiting, I couldn't help but be reminded of the hazards kids face daily on their way to and from school. Incidents with cars are still a leading cause of death and serious injury for school-age children, whether they're walking, riding their bikes, being driven, or driving themselves to school. Now that school is back in session, it's a good time for all of us to remember some of the simple steps we can take to help keep kids safe.

As a driver, the most important things you can do are slowing down and paying attention when driving near schools and in surrounding neighborhoods. You should also follow basic safety rules, such making sure you yield to pedestrians, securing your kids properly with a seat belt or in a car seat, and stopping for school buses and at stop signs. That advice may seem obvious, but research shows that more than one-third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods.

In addition, if you have school-age children, talk with them about traffic safety. Teach them to cross streets only at intersections and in crosswalks, never in midblock or between parked cars. Walk with young children to school for the first few days to point out possible traffic hazards. And if you have a teen, discuss the dangers of walking while texting, which is an increasingly serious problem.

Members can find more information about pedestrian and bike safety at, which is the latest resource we've developed in our long endeavor to keep kids safe. Indeed, AAA launched the "School's Open – Drive Carefully" campaign 70 years ago to remind motorists to watch out for students, and the message remains as important and relevant today as it was in 1946.

We all lead busy lives, but nothing is more important than ensuring the safety of our children. Take these tips to heart the next time you're near a school zone.

Jim McGrath

September/October 2016 Issue

Jim McGrath


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