WESTPORT, Conn. -- The Westport Police Department has stepped up its enforcement efforts targeting traffic violators in school zones with a “Back to School” enforcement and education campaign, focusing on traffic safety in and around the school areas.
The first day of school in Westport will be Monday, Aug. 25.
Westport officers are targeting individuals who are using cellphones and speeding in school zones to raise awareness on school safety in Westport.
“The goal of the Westport Police Department is to protect children from motorists who disregard the law, especially around the school zones” said police Capt. Sam Arciola. “However, we must continue to educate motorists, parents and children on the importance of safe pedestrian movement and accident prevention in order to ensure traffic safety. We all have a responsibility to make sure children travel to and from school safely.”
Chief of Police Dale E. Call said, “We remind motorists to exercise caution, slow down in school zones and around school buses and remain alert. Our officers will not hesitate to hand out citations but that is not our objective. This enforcement campaign is designed to encourage everyone to practice safe driving and pedestrian habits.”
The Westport Police Department is offering these safety tips:
For Children–Getting On and Off the Bus Safely:
• Always remain in direct eyesight of the bus driver;
• Get to the bus stop in plenty of time;
• Take 10 giant steps back from the curb while waiting for the bus and 10 steps when exiting
• Never try to get anything left on the bus after exiting;
• Never reach underneath the bus;
• Always follow the driver’s directions for how to cross the street;
• Be alert to traffic and look both ways;
• Always cross in front of the bus, but only when the bus driver signals it is safe to do so.
• Have a safe place to wait for your bus, away from traffic and the street.
• Stay away from the bus until it comes to a complete stop and the driver signals you to enter.
• Use the handrail to enter and exit the bus.
• When exiting, look before stepping off the bus to be sure no cars are passing on the shoulder. Move away from the bus.
• Before crossing the street, take 10 “giant steps” out from the front of the bus, or until the driver’s face can be seen. Wait for the driver to signal that it’s safe to cross.
• Look left-right-left when coming to the edge of the bus to make sure traffic is stopped. Keep watching traffic when crossing.
• Be aware of the street traffic around you. Drivers are required to follow certain rules of the road concerning school buses. However, not all do. Protect yourself and watch out.
• Supervise children to make sure they get to the stop on time, wait far away from the road and avoid rough play.
• Teach your child to ask the driver for help if he/she drops something near the bus. If a child bends down to pick up something, the driver cannot see him/her and the child may be hit by the bus. Have your child use a backpack or book bag to keep loose items together.
• Make sure clothing and backpacks have no loose drawstrings or long straps that could get caught in the handrail or bus door.
• Encourage safe school bus loading and unloading.
• If you think a bus stop is in a dangerous place, talk with your school office or transportation director about changing the location.
• Yellow flashing lights on the bus indicate that it is preparing to stop and load or unload children. This means cars need to slow down and prepare to stop.
• It is illegal to pass a school bus with its red flashing lights and stop signal arm activated. Vehicles may not pass until the flashing red lights and signals are turned off or when the bus driver motions them through.
• Vehicles traveling in the same direction as the bus are always required to stop.
• Vehicles moving in the opposite direction as the bus are also required to stop unless they are on a divided highway.
• Never pass on the right side of the bus where children are entering and exiting. This is illegal and can have tragic results.