It is that time of year again. Many students attending Michigan Public Schools will be making their way to the classrooms beginning Tuesday September 4th. As your Sheriff, I want to remind everyone of some simple tips to help keep children safe when returning to school.
I ask all parents to please take time this weekend and remind your children how to travel to and from school safely.
When walking to school, urge your children to walk in groups and stay on the sidewalks, only crossing streets at the crosswalks. If there are no sidewalks and it is necessary to walk alongside a roadway, remind them to walk against traffic and to walk in single file as far to the left as possible when traffic is approaching.
A very important safety tip to teach children of all ages is to always look both ways before crossing the street. A simple tool to help them remember is: “look left, look right and look left again” before crossing. Children younger than age 10 are not able to judge vehicle speeds or distances, so whenever possible, have children walk with an adult and follow all traffic laws.
If your child rides a bicycle to school, make sure a helmet is worn. Remind your students that when riding a bike, they must obey all traffic laws. One common mistake children make when riding bicycles is to ride against traffic. Bicycles are to travel with traffic which is different than walking on the edge of the road.
Parents and young drivers in your household should be reminded to watch for children coming and going to school. One simple and easy way we can protect children is to pay attention to what we are doing. Too often at an accident scene it is discovered that the driver was distracted; either by someone riding with them, something along their path, or by their own actions. Please slow down, put the cell phones down, and eliminate any distractions.
Also be cautious when approaching all school buses. Michigan law dictates that drivers must stop not less than 20 feet from a school bus when the overhead red flashing lights are activated. This applies to both oncoming traffic as well as any vehicle traveling behind any stopped school bus. Failing to stop for red flashing lights on a school bus is not only dangerous, but also results in a civil infraction ticket which could cost any violator of this law $200.00. A Citation issued for Speeding 1mph to 10mph in a School Zone costs violators $140.00. Disobey a School Crossing Guard? It will cost violators $215.00.
Pedestrians also must stay attentive. Headphones are great for listening to music at home, but not while you are walking.
Our children are important to us and we need to help keep them stay safe.
Have a safe weekend and a wonderful new school year.
Sheriff Richard C. Fuller III