IIA reminds motorists to drive with caution as children return to school in the coming weeks.
Adopting good back-to-school habits applies to drivers across Illinois as well as students.
Keeping school traffic zones safe should be a top priority for motorists. On average 131 Americans die every year in school transportation-related crashes according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Seventy-five percent of crashes involving young pedestrians occur between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., when children are on their way to and home from school.
School traffic safety requires collaboration at many levels. The insurance industry, along with school officials, parents, police officers and many others, wants children to be safe when getting to and from school. The Illinois Insurance Association provides a comprehensive list of tips designed to reduce the number of school transportation-related accidents this school year.
IIA asks drivers to observe the following rules for back-to-school traffic safety.
- Never pass a stopped school bus from either direction unless you are on the other side of a divided highway.
- When stopping behind a school bus, leave at least 10 feet between your car and the bus. Watch for children in the roadway before continuing your trip, even after the school bus has retracted its stop sign.
- Follow school zone speed limits and be alert for crossing guards and children who may be distracted or crossing where there is no crosswalk.
- Never block a crosswalk, especially in a school zone, while stopped at a red light or waiting to turn.
- When dropping off or picking up your own students, follow the school’s rules. Don’t double-park or block crosswalks. Drop off children on the same side of the street as the school building so they don’t have to cross the street. Carpool whenever possible to reduce traffic near the school.
- Be especially watchful for children riding bicycles to and from school. When approaching an intersection to turn left, wait for a bicyclist riding toward you to pass before you make your turn. Watch for bikes when preparing to back up and when opening your car door into the street.
- Stay off the phone and avoid other distractions behind the wheel, especially while driving in a school zone. Children can behave unpredictably around roadways, and no matter who technically has the right of way, it is a driver’s responsibility to avoid collisions with pedestrians.
- If you have school-age children or grandchildren, talk to them about traffic safety. Teach them to cross only at crosswalks, obey crossing guards and remain alert – with headphones off and electronic devices put away – while walking or bicycling in high-traffic areas.
The Illinois Insurance Association is a trade association representing property casualty insurers (auto, homeowners, worker’s compensation, commercial, etc.). Since 1958 IIA has focused on member services, government relations, media outreach, and consumer education. More information can be found on our website, www.illinoisinsurance.org.
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