Latta Police Remind Public To Use Caution As School Begins

The 2010-2011 school year begins for students on August 16th, and the Latta Police Department along with the S.C. Department of Public Safety would like to remind the public of a few tips to help ensure the safety of children as they travel to and from school.
Whether walking, riding a bicycle or traveling in a car or bus, the safety of the children is of utmost importance this time of year as they begin sharing the roads with motorists who have become accustomed to inactive school zones during the summer.
The first week of school is being observed as School Zone Safety and Bus Safety Week.  Please take note of the information and tips that follow.

What Parents Need
To Know
Each year, many children are injured or killed when they dart into the path of a car.
*  Most young children are injured near their home or on their own street.
* Most crashes involving young children occur between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
* Most crashes involving young children occur in fair and warm weather
* Twice as many boys are injured as girls.
How can these tragedies be prevented?
* Supervise young children at all times.  Young children should not be allowed to cross the street alone.  Teach them who can help them cross the street safely.
* Teach by explaining.  Explain to your child the safe way you cross the street.
* Teach by example.  When your cross a street with your child, always: Stop at the curb, look left-right for traffic in all directions, cross when it is clear, and keep looking for vehicles as you cross.
* Encourage your child.  As you both safely cross the street together, praise your child for copying your safe actions and words.

What Motorists Need
To Know
Parents and motorists have a responsibility to help ensure the safety of child pedestrians.
* Because of their size, it is difficult for children to see motorists or for motorists to see them.  Because their peripheral vision is about one-third narrower than an adult’s, children can’t see a motorist approaching from the right or left as soon as an adult can.
* Children also have difficulty judging a car’s speed and distance, and they often think that if they can see the driver, the driver can see them.
* Drivers should observe speed limits at all times, but especially around children.  When driving in school zones, near playgrounds, or in neighborhoods where children might be playing, motorists should always expect a child to dart out into the roadway.
* When turning left at a green light or making a right turn on red, drivers need to look for pedestrians as well as cars.  Pedestrians always have the right of way in these situations.
* Avoid using a cell phone in and around school zones.  Children’s actions can be unpredictable.  If you are texting, talking or making a call, it can affect your ability to react quickly.

Tips for Kids
Children face a wide variety of decisions, situations and dangers while walking and biking to and from school.  Here are a few basic safety tips to follow:
* Cross at an intersection or crosswalk, if available.
* Walk on the sidewalk if there is one.  If you have to walk on the road, walk facing traffic so you can see what’s coming.
* Walk with a friend.
* At intersections with traffic lights, watch for cars and obey traffic signals.
* Don’t ride a bike in the road until you fully understand traffic rules and can show your parents that you know how to follow them.
* Always wear a helmet and follow traffic safety rules when riding your bike.
* Walk your bike through intersections.
* Give cars and pedestrians the right of way.  That means, let them go by first!

School Bus Safety
School buses are one of the safest forms of transportation.  Getting on and off the bus is the most dangerous part of the school bus ride.
That’s why the loading and unloading area is called the “Danger Zone.”
This area- which extends 10 feet in front of the school bus, 10 feet on each side of the bus, and behind the bus- is where children are at greatest risk of not being seen by the bus driver.  Children need to be taught how to get on and off the school bus safely.

At the bus stop…
* Get to the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.  Running to catch the bus can be dangerous.
* When the bus approaches, stand at least 10 steps away from the curb, and line up away from the street.
* Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says that it’s ok before stepping onto the bus.
* If you have to cross the street to reach the bus stop, walk on the sidewalk or along the road.  Be sure that the bus driver can see you and you can see the bus driver when crossing the street.  And watch out for passing vehicles.
* Never walk behind the bus.
* Walk at least 10 steps away from the sides of the bus.
* If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver.  Never try to pick it up, because the driver might not be able to see you.
On the bus…
* Always sit fully in the seat and face forward.
* Never distract the driver.
* Never stand on a moving bus.
* Obey the driver.
* Speak in a low voice; no screaming or shouting.

* Dress students in bright, easily seen clothing, and use reflective markings on clothing, backpacks and book bags.
* Make sure students have their backpacks or book bags to carry their things, so they don’t endanger themselves recovering dropped items.
* Make sure students are at the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.
* Remind students of their responsibility for proper behavior on the bus so that the driver will not be distracted.

Bus Drivers:
* Establish a positive relationship with your students.
* Double-check the side and front crossover mirrors for “all clear” before moving the bus.
* If distracted by actions on the bus, check the mirrors again before moving.
* Constantly watch and listen for anyone trying to alert you to a hazard.
* Report disruptive students to school officials.
* Notify school officials when students do not comply with safety rules.

* Use extra caution when traveling in an area where you see school buses.
* Slow down and prepare to stop when a school has the amber lights flashing.
*  Stop at least 20 feet from a school bus traveling in either direction when the red lights are flashing.
For more information on school bus safety, visit us online at

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