Members of the Putnam County Traffic Safety Board are spending these last weeks before school opens to meet with the bus drivers, monitors and Transportation Supervisors of the Putnam County School Districts to talk about how they can help with bus safety and motorists passing stopped school buses with their red flashing lights and stop sign in operation. Members of the Board met with the Mahopac and Brewster School Districts last week. More meetings are set for this week. Their goal is community education and awareness to keep children and drivers safe.
In its annual School’s Open – Drive Carefully message, AAA Northeast encourages drivers to be during mornings and afternoons when children get on and off school buses. Spokeswoman Fran Mayko says kids get caught up in the excitement of ‘back-to-school’ and sometimes forget to look for cars, even though drivers are required to yield and stop for school buses with activated lights.
Mayko says kids may dart into streets as they have trouble judging traffic speed and distance.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the greatest risk to children isn’t riding school buses; it’s approaching or leaving them. Between 2008 and 2017, 264 school-age children were killed in school transportation-related crashes, primarily when they waited at bus stops or crossed streets.
While drivers need to be aware that school is starting back up this week. Mayko says parents should teach school-aged children to cross at corners, use crosswalks if they’re available, and look both ways before crossing. Kids should also eliminate electronics such as headphones and cellphones when crossing.