The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) recently issued a reminder for motor vehicle operators to adhere to safety protocols near schools as students return to campus.
In its announcement, the agency asked parents to review back-to-school safety precautions.
ALEA advised of the following general school traffic issues:
- Expect heavier-than-usual traffic (at least the first week of school), and plan to leave home at least 20 minutes earlier than usual.
- Be patient as parents with younger children become familiar with drop-off and pick-up locations.
- Slow down and stay alert, particularly in school zones.
- Expect frequent stops along school bus routes.
- When a school bus stops, motorists should stop at least 20 feet from school buses when traveling in either direction on roadways with undivided two, four and six-lane roadways.
- Exercise extra caution, particularly, near bus stops should a child dart out into traffic.
- In school zones with blinking flashers, stop and yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and/or at intersections.
- Understand the majority of children injured or killed in school transportation are not injured or killed on the bus, but outside the bus. Most are struck by motorists who fail to stop for the flashing red lights and extended stop signs.
- Never pass a vehicle that has stopped for pedestrians.
In a statement, ALEA secretary Hal Taylor advised that being aware of safety protocols would serve to enhance student safety.
“As we enter a new school year, we ask motorists to be mindful as school buses and young pedestrians reappear along Alabama roadways, particularly in designated school zones,” said Taylor in a release. “Every driver can help protect a child’s life, as well as their own, by following simple rules of the road and by practicing good driving behaviors.”
Other important safety points were placed in the report addressing parents with younger children, including those attending school for the first time. ALEA reminded all parents that if their children are walking to the school or bus stop, it would be helpful to wear bright colors to aid motorists in recognizing them.
The agency encouraged parents to organize a supervision routine at bus stops. Additionally, ALEA asked parents to remind students that they must yield to vehicles when crossing streets, not at crosswalks. Alabama’s chief law enforcement agency advised that students should only cross at crosswalks after making eye contact with the drivers before crossing.
Furthermore, ALEA said to walk single file against traffic. Advice for parents of teen drivers included a reminder that 16-year-old (Stage II) drivers were only allowed to have one passenger who is not a family member when driving.
The agency encouraged trial runs of the normal pathway for the student with a parent to and from the school to familiarize the route, and to plan and practice up to two alternate routes to reduce confusion and anxiety in bad traffic conditions or if certain roadways are shut down.
David Palmer is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News