As Florida students begin the school year, either virtually or in-person, AAA – the Auto Club Group is urging motorists to slow down and stay alert in both neighborhoods and school zones.
“This pandemic could create risky conditions on the roadway,” Mark Jenkins, Auto Club Group spokesman, said in a AAA news release.
“Schools are reopening in different phases and drivers may be unsure of where they’ll encounter students. Regardless, AAA urges drivers to be extremely cautious around school zones and bus stops. You should also treat neighborhoods like school zones, as students doing virtual classes could be outside at various times throughout the day,” Jenkins said.
Here are driver tips from AAA’s School’s Open-Drive Carefully campaign:
• Slow down. Speed limits in school zones are reduced for a reason. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 25 mph is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed compared to a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling just 10 mph faster, according to AAA.
• Come to a complete stop. More than one-third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods. Check carefully for children on sidewalks and in crosswalks before proceeding.
• Eliminate distractions. Taking your eyes off the road for just 2 seconds doubles the chances of crashing. Children can move quickly — crossing the road unexpectedly or emerging from between two parked cars. Do not use a cellphone or eat while driving, for example.
• Follow the law. Florida drivers can be cited for using a handheld device while driving through designated school crossings or active school zones. The noncriminal traffic infraction is punishable as a moving violation and carries a base $60 fine, which does not include court costs or other fees. Three points will be assessed against the driver’s license.
• Watch for school buses. Drivers are required to stop when approaching a school bus that is stopped with its red lights flashing and STOP arm extended.
• Watch for bicycles. Children on bicycles are often inexperienced, unsteady and unpredictable. Slow down and allow at least 3 feet of passing distance between your vehicle and a cyclist. If your child rides a bicycle to school, require that he or she wears a properly fitted bicycle helmet on every ride.
• Talk to your teen. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, and nearly one-in-four fatal crashes involving teen drivers occurs during the afterschool hours of 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
For more information, visit AAA.com and click on the Community link.
Published August 19, 2020