Launched in 1946, AAA’s School’s Open – Drive Carefully awareness campaign was created as a way to help reduce child pedestrian fatalities and injuries. The campaign kicks off each Fall and continues throughout the school year to remind motorists to watch out for children as they travel to and from school.

The spring of 2020 brought about unprecedented changes to our society and our education system. Health experts anticipate that COVID-19 will continue to circulate during the 2020-2021 school year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has posted guidance to assist school districts in decision making. The following guidance is available for communities where schools have been officially designated safe to reopen.

 

Safety Tips For Drivers

Be sure to drive carefully when school is in session

  • Watch for children on their way to and from school.
  • Obey all school zone signs, signals, and markings.
  • Look for AAA School Safety Patrollers and crossing guards.
  • Watch your speed.
  • Avoid using cell phones or driving while distracted, especially around school zones.
  • Remember to use seat belts and appropriate child safety seats or booster seats when transporting children.

Getting Children To School Safely

 

Making our children safer
 

Regardless of how children commute to school, they face many traffic safety hazards. Due to COVID-19, more people may choose to walk and bike to school this year, instead of riding the bus.

Before making the decision to allow children to walk to school, here are some things to consider:

  • Your child’s age: Children under 10 usually don’t have the skills to navigate alone in areas with traffic. Think about the readiness of each child, regardless of age, to face dangerous traffic.
  • Traffic itself: The volume and speed of traffic may not allow for a safe route.
  • Crime: High crime areas can also put children at risk.
  • Crosswalks, street signs, and traffic signals: These items help protect drivers and children from traffic crashes.
  • Crossing guards and AAA School Safety Patrollers: These helpers are often present to assist children in crossing intersections safely.
  • Distance to the school or bus stop: The further children have to walk, the greater the risk of mishap.

What parents can do
 
  • Walk with children many times to familiarize them with the route. This creates an opportunity to point out potential traffic hazards, as well as non-traffic situations to avoid.
  • Have children walk in a group. With more eyes and ears, kids can cross streets together and negotiate dangerous situations more safely. Consider establishing a “walking school bus” so children and parents can walk together to school.
  • Talk with kids about traffic safety and teach them when and where it’s safest to cross streets. Always use crosswalks yourself to model safe behavior for your child.
  • Closely examine the dangerous areas of your child’s walk, such as driveways and parking lots. Remind children to take their time and stop, look all ways, and listen before crossing the street, even when there is a well-marked crosswalk.

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