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Slow Down, Look Out for Kids as School Year Begins

Reduced speeds in school zones keep children safe and are especially important to note as students head back to the classroom. (David Mulder/Flickr)
Reduced speeds in school zones keep children safe and are especially important to note as students head back to the classroom. (David Mulder/Flickr)
September 5, 2017

PIERRE, S.D. – All across the United States at this time of year, 55 million children head back to school, walking and biking to class.

AAA South Dakota reminds drivers that speed limits in school zones are reduced for a reason.

Marilyn Buskohl, government and public affairs manager for AAA South Dakota, says two-thirds of motorists exceeded those speed limits during the 30 minutes before and after school, according to a national survey.

"It's really important to allow enough extra time so that you're not feeling rushed, and that you just slow down, especially these first few weeks, when kids are excited and getting back into getting into school," she stresses.

Research shows that more than a third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones and residential neighborhoods, so Buskohl says it's a good time of year to remember to come to a full stop and check for children before proceeding.

She also says it's a good time to start using your headlights at all times.

According to Buskohl, 3 to 7 p.m. is the most dangerous time during school days. She says it's important not to be distracted while driving at any time of day, but especially during the afternoons, when most accidents happen.

"Things can happen so quickly, and one minute you might be looking – and if you look down at your phone or whatever, even for a couple of seconds, the whole scene can change, and a child could dart out into the street or be on their bicycle and you just don't see them," she points out.

Buskohl says parents also should take time to review the rules with their teen drivers. She says her number one piece of advice is that teens limit the number of passengers they have in the car with them.

It should be no more than one, because the more kids that are in the car, the more distractions there can be,” she explains. “It just helps that young driver to stay more focused if there aren't other passengers in the vehicle."

AAA offers more tips regarding teen drivers at teendriving.aaa.com.



Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - SD