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Drive Safely: Fairfield's Kids Are Back In School

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Fairfield’s public schools will be back in session Thursday morning. Fairfield Police and AAA are advising drivers to be careful on the roads, especially if traveling before 9 a.m. and after 3 p.m.

Statistics from AAA estimate that 13 percent of kids will walk or bike to school this year. For the parents of those kids, police recommend walking the route with your kids the first few days to make sure they know the way. They also suggest making sure children are wearing bright clothing when walking or biking to and from school.

All drivers should also remember to avoid talking and texting on cell phones while driving. Police will be out near all schools for the first few weeks of school to heavily enforce speeding and distracted driving laws.

Drivers should slow down when near a school bus with yellow flashing lights. When the bus’s lights become red and the stop sign comes out, cars nearby must remain stopped until the bus begins to move again. The state penalty for passing a school bus with red flashing lights is $465, even for a first offense.

AAA also offers some tips for drivers as kids return back to school:

  • Slow down. There’s a reason why speed limits in school zones are reduced. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 25 mph is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed compared with a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling 10 mph faster.
  • Eliminate distractions. Children often cross the road unexpectedly and may emerge suddenly between parked cars. Taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chances of crashing, research reports.
  • Reverse responsibly. Every vehicle has blind spots. Check for children on the sidewalk, driveway and around your vehicle before backing up. Teach your children to never play in, under or around vehicles — even those that are parked.
  • Come to a complete stop. Research also shows more than a third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods. Always come to a complete stop, checking carefully for children on sidewalks and in crosswalks before proceeding.
  • Watch for bicycles. Children on bikes are often inexperienced, unsteady and unpredictable. Slow down and allow at least three feet of passing distance between your vehicle and the bicycle.  If your child rides a bicycle to school, make sure they wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet on every ride.

Parents and drivers with questions can contact the Fairfield Police Traffic Safety Unit at 203-254-4850.

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