|TRENTON – Now that summer vacation is ending, approximately 1.3 million students in New Jersey are expected to be walking, bicycling, driving or riding to school in the coming days. With that influx of young people on the roads and sidewalks, the Division of Highway Traffic Safety is reminding students, their parents and motorists how they can be safe on the road now that class is back in session.
“There is a lot going on in school zones between the buses, pedestrians and parents dropping off their children, so it is vital that families have a conversation about how to be safe on foot nearby school,” said Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky. “Students should adhere to the pedestrian rules at their school, like only crossing the street at a crosswalk and obeying crossing guard instructions”
Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death of children in the state. In a 10-year span from 2003-2012, 142 child and adolescent pedestrians under the age of 19 were killed in motor vehicles crashes. On average, one child pedestrian under the age of 15 is struck everyday by a motor vehicle in the Garden State.
“Now that summer vacation is over, traffic patterns and volume are going to be changing near school zones. That is why motorists driving through schools must always be cognizant of their surroundings, proceed with extreme care and obey the lowered school zone speed limits,” 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 use a mobile phone 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 here.