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As School Starts, Colorado Police Intensify Road-Safety Efforts

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Back-to-school vehicle safety

Idaho Springs, Colorado, school buses

With summer vacation winding down and school starting in a few days, police throughout Colorado are working to keep roads safe for children. Denver is putting more police officers outside schools to remind drivers to watch out for students and to heed school zones, according to an article on kwgn.com. In school zones, the officers urge drivers to slow down, obey traffic laws and speed limits, to watch for school crossing guards, and stop when school buses are loading or unloading children.

In Colorado Springs, police say that school zones are their top priority as children head back to school, as kktv.com reports. Motorcycle police in that city began looking for speeders and distracted drivers in school zones a week ago, kktv.com writes. Colorado Springs police are also looking out for school buses. Colorado law requires drivers to stop their vehicles at least 20 feet before a school bus that is stopped and has its red lights flashing, no matter what side of the road the bus is on. Drivers are required to stay stopped until the school bus’s red lights stop flashing and the “stop arm” folds back.

Fines Are Doubled

Kwgn.com reminds readers that ticket fines are double in school zones. The site adds that police encourage parents of younger children to escort their kids to the bus stop. The children should not stand or play in the street while waiting for the bus. Drive Smart Colorado, a nonprofit group that works to improve traffic safety in Colorado, has partnered with the Colorado Springs police, Andrea Sinclair writes for The Gazette. The organization’s campaigns seek to reduce traffic-related injuries and fatalities by educating parents and drivers and and increasing public awareness.

Safety Tips

The Colorado Springs Police Department has offered the following list of safety tips for students provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as kktv.com writes:

• Get to the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.

• When the bus approaches, stand at least 6 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 OK 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 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 or backpacks don’t get caught in the handrails or doors.

• Never walk behind 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.

In addition, KKTV offers these tips from Drive Smart, for parents and drivers, as well as students:

• Walk on the sidewalk, if one is available. When on a street with no sidewalk, walk facing traffic.

• Before crossing a street, stop and look left, right, and left again to see if cars are coming.

• Cross streets at crosswalks when available.

• Yellow flashing lights indicate a bus is preparing to stop to pick up or drop off children. Drivers need to slow down and prepare to stop.

• Watch carefully for children near the school bus and children crossing the roadway.

Image by Bradley Gordon, used under its Creative Commons license.

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