On the first day of school, which will be Friday for Edmond Public Schools, students will be generally excited seeing old friends and in some cases new surroundings.
They may also be distracted and not be paying attention, looking out for cars as they might otherwise do.
Edmond Police Sgt. Acey Hopper said at the same time drivers should be watching out for students, police officers will be watching them.
“Everyone should always be paying close attention while driving,” Hopper said. “With the start of school everyone needs to plan ahead. All the schools will be crowded and have heavy vehicle traffic, as well as pedestrian traffic.”
Hopper urged motorists to leave a little earlier Friday morning and watch for children and young drivers. School zones will be strictly enforced and will be monitored closely by the Edmond Police Department, Hopper said.
Also, drivers should always refrain from texting while driving, but extra care should be taken with the increased traffic and presence of children, Hopper said.
“The first day of school is an exciting time for many children and they may not always be paying close attention, so motorists should be extra vigilant in the upcoming days and weeks,” he said.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a pedestrian struck by vehicle traveling 25 miles per hour is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed as compared to a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling just 10 mph faster. The speed limit in most school zones across Oklahoma is 25 mph.
AAA Oklahoma offers the following tips for motorists:
• Ditch distractions. Research shows that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chances of crashing.
• Stay alert. Don’t rush into and out of driveways. Remember that pedestrians will be on sidewalks, around schools and in neighborhoods.
• Stop at stop signs. It sounds obvious, but research shows that more than one-third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones and residential neighborhoods.
• Watch for bikes. Children on bicycles are often unpredictable; expect the unexpected.
• Brake for buses. It may be tempting to drive around a stopped school bus, but not only is it dangerous, it’s against the law in Oklahoma.
• Plan ahead. Leave early for your destination and build in extra time.
• Re-route yourself. Avoid driving by or near schools. You’ll save time and reduce the risk to kids.
The AAA motor club offers safety tips for parents. At www.ok.aaa.com, parents of pre-school children age 4-6 can find downloadable brochures: “How I Cross a Street,” “When I Go Outside,” “I Listen and Look for Cars Coming,” “Traffic Signal Lights” and a parents’ guide.
There’s also information on bike safety, grade specific traffic safety curriculum for grades K-5, information on teen crashes — nearly two of every three people killed in teen driver crashes are people other than the teen driver, AAA reports — information on all-weather driving, drowsy driving and a guide to prevent text messaging while driving.
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