|TRENTON – With summer vacation ending, students throughout New Jersey are heading back to school and the Division of Highway Traffic Safety is reminding those students, their parents and motorists how they can be safe on the road now that class is back in session.
“In a school zone there’s a lot going on between pedestrians, school buses, and students being dropped off,” said Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky. “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 a crosswalk.”
Approximately 1.3 million students in New Jersey are expected to be walking, bicycling, driving or riding to school in the coming days. Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death of children in the State. In the last three years in New Jersey, 71 children under the age of 18 have been killed in motor vehicle crashes – including 21 pedestrians. On average, one child pedestrian under the age of 15 is struck everyday by a motor vehicle in the Garden State.
“With summer vacation over, traffic volume in school zones may change in some communities, so it is incumbent upon motorists to proceed with extreme care and obey the posted speed limits in those areas. Additionally, parents should review safety tips with their children to remind them what it takes travel safely to and from school,” Poedubicky said.
Acting Director Poedubicky offered the following tips to motorists and students:
- 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. Remember the law now requires motorists to stop and remain stopped for pedestrians in crosswalks.
- DO NOT text while driving.
- 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.
Additional tips for school zone safety can be found at: www.nj.gov/oag/hts/downloads/School_Zone_Tip_Sheet.pdf
To educate parents on school bus safety, the Motor Vehicle Commission has rolled out a powerful online tool for parents to use to check the inspection records of their child's school bus. The MVC's enhanced School Bus Report Card is at www.njmvc.gov. The MVC’s School Bus Inspection Unit uses a 180-point review to ensure that the 24,000 student transportation vehicles meet strict safety standards. Additionally, the unit’s teams of inspectors carefully review gas and diesel emissions, as well as maintenance and daily driver reports.