MERRIMAC– Groveland Police Chief Jeffrey Gillen, Merrimac Police Chief Eric Shears and West Newbury Police Chief Jeffrey Durand wish to share back to school road safety tips as the school year begins.
“It’s essential that students are safe while they walk and bicycle to and from school, and also while they’re waiting at the bus stop,” Chief Gillen said. “We encourage drivers to remain vigilant and watch for young people on the roads now that school is back in session.”
“We want to remind members of our community: drive slow, pay attention, and watch out for buses that may be slowing down or stopping to pick up children,” Chief Shears said.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has several tips for motorists as the school year begins:
- Look for children walking or bicycling when backing out of a driveway or garage.
- Be vigilant and watch for children who may be walking or bicycling to school in neighborhoods with school zones.
- Watch out for children who may be crossing the street.
- Be mindful of children who may be standing in a group or playing near a bus stop.
- Slow down.
- Remember: yellow flashing lights signify that a bus is slowing down to either pick up or drop off children. Prepare to stop your vehicle.
- Remember: red flashing lights and extended stop arms signify that a bus has stopped to pick up or drop off children. Drivers traveling in both directions are required to stop their vehicles and wait until the lights stop flashing, the extended stop arm is withdrawn and the bus continues driving.
The Groveland, Merrimac and West Newbury Police Departments also wish to remind drivers to stay off of all electronic devices while driving, as even a moment of distraction can cause a deadly accident. Drivers are also reminded to keep the windows of their vehicle clean and clear.
“While we issue these reminders to motorists, we also want students, parents and guardians to take whatever steps they can to stay safe, which includes waiting a proper distance from the road at a bus stop and practicing safe habits like looking twice before crossing a street,” Chief Durand said.
The NHTSA also has several tips for children and parents at bus stops:
- Arrive at the bus stop five minutes early, and wait approximately six feet away from the curb.
- Do not allow children to run or play at a bus stop.
- Wait until the bus stops completely, the door opens and the driver says it is safe to board the bus before getting on.
- Use the handrails on the bus while boarding.
- Do not walk behind a school bus.
- If a child drops an item near a school bus, he or she should first tell the bus driver about the dropped item.
- If a child needs to cross the street to board the bus, he or she should make eye contact with the driver, use the sidewalk until crossing, and walk approximately 10 feet in front of the bus.
Anyone with questions about road safety is encouraged to contact the Groveland Police Department at 978-521-1212, Merrimac Police Department at 978-346-8321 or the West Newbury Police Department at 978-363-1212.