the school year starting next week in Loudoun, the Leesburg Police Department this week sent out a reminder to residents, whether driving or walking, to be cautious.
With the assistance of the Virginia State Police, Leesburg officers will increase their visibility and have dedicated personnel assigned to each of the Loudoun County public schools within the town as part of the Safe Streets campaign. The patrols will be looking for speeding violations, aggressive driving, distracted driving, stop sign and stop light violations, occupant safety (seat belts), and pedestrian safety.
Drivers are reminded to be aware of school buses preparing to load or unload children, signaled by yellow flashing lights on the bus. Red flashing lights and a stop sign extended from the bus indicates the bus is stopped and children are entering or exiting. Virginia law requires traffic moving in both directions to stop, unless separated by physical barrier, such as a median.
Children can be unpredictable as they walk to or from their buses, often comfortable in their environment. Such factors make them more likely to take risks, ignore hazards or fail to look both ways before crossing the street.
Drivers may want to allow extra time for their morning commute and prepare for changes and obstacles along route.
The police department also offered the following tips:
- Before the school year starts, take practice walks so that both parents and children know the safest routes.
- Always cross at an intersection or crosswalk. Remember to look both ways before crossing.
- When no cars are coming, walk- don’t run- across the road, and keep looking for cars while crossing.
- At intersections with traffic lights, watch for turning cars and obey all traffic signals.
- Always walk on the sidewalk if there is one available.
- Do not run between parked cars and buses.
- Do not run across the street or through a parking lot.
- No cell phone talking or texting while going to or from school. Watch what’s going on around you.
Riding a School Bus
- If your child rides a school bus, make sure that he or she knows to remain seated at all times, to keep the aisles clear, not to throw objects, not to shout or distract the driver, and to keep his or her hands and arms inside of the bus.
- When a school bus stops to load or unload passengers and its red lights are flashing, all vehicles must stop- in both directions- unless on a divided highway. If the bus stop is on a divided highway, then only those vehicles approaching from the rear must stop.
Drivers- Parents and Teens
Parents and caregivers-
- Follow all traffic laws and take safety precautions, especially when driving in areas where children may be present.
- In school drop off and pick up zones, be extra alert and drive slowly. Watch for your children and all the other children too.
- Do your eating and grooming before leaving home with the children. Keep your cell phone turned off until you reach work.
- Your high school driving years are the most dangerous, Be Aware and Cautious.
- Don’t be distracted by cell phones, friends, or too much fun in the car.
- Use your seat belts every day, every trip, it’s a state law. Seat belts save more lives than anything else.
- Take it easy, it takes time to become an experienced driver
For more back to school safety tips, please visit the National Safety Council website at www.nsc.org.