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Westport Police Stress Safety As Students Head Back To School

Westport Police are asking drivers, children and parents to be safe as students go back to school
Westport Police are asking drivers, children and parents to be safe as students go back to school Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Westport Police Department

WESTPORT, Conn. -- With Westport students set to go back to school on Thursday, Aug. 31, the Westport Police Department will be targeting traffic violators in school zones with a "Back to School" enforcement and education campaign.

Officers will target drivers who use cell phones and speed in school zones, near bus stops, as well as those who disregard school bus signals in town.

"The Westport Police Department is committing to protecting children from motorists who disregard the law, especially around school zones and bus stops where students congregate., police said. "We urge commuters to allow for extra time as they will be sharing the roads with school buses making frequent stops, as well as children who will be walking and/or biking to school."

"Please remain vigilant around school zones, bus stops and school buses. We all have a responsibility to make sure children are able to travel to and from school safely."

Police are also offering safety tips for drivers, students and parents to help ensure that everyone remains safe and healthy during the back to school season.

Drivers:

  • When backing into a roadway, watch out for children walking or bicycling to school.
  • When driving in neighborhoods with school zones, watch out for young people who may be thinking about getting to school, but may not be thinking of getting there safely.
  • Slow down. Watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks in neighborhood, as well as for children playing and congregating near bus stops.
  • Be alert. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.
  • Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
  • Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has stopped, and that children are getting on or off. Motorists on both sides of the roadway must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop sign is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start driving again.

Children:

  • Get to the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.
  • When the bus approaches, stand at least three giant steps (six feet) away from the curb, and line up away from the street.
  • Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says that it's okay before stepping onto the bus.
  • If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road to a point at least five giant steps (10 feet) ahead of the bus before you cross. Be sure that the bus driver can see you, and you can see the bus driver.
  • Use the handrails to avoid falls. When exiting the bus, be careful that clothing with drawstrings and book bags with straps do not get caught in the handrails or doors.
  • Never walk behind the bus.
  • Walk at least three giant steps away from the side of the bus.
  • If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up because the driver may not be able to see you.
  • Follow instructions given by school crossing guards. Do not cross until they have stopped traffic completely and have advised it is safe to cross.

Parents:

  • Teach children to follow these common sense practices to make school bus transportation safer.

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