School’s Open – Drive Carefully

School’s Open – Drive Carefully

Two young students standing outside of a school bus on safety patrol
AAA Teams up with Community Partners to Improve Traffic Safety
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All Regions
Anthony B. Spada, President and CEO, AAA Western and Central New York

Disturbingly, a pedestrian is killed every two hours in the United States, on average, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Soon millions of school aged children will be heading back to school eager to learn. It’s the responsibility of every adult to protect these precious students.

Consider this - in the last decade, more than 25 percent of child pedestrian fatalities occurred after school, between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. And New York State averages nearly 300 pedestrian fatalities annually.

Many children walk or ride their bikes to and from school. Others travel by car or bus. AAA’s annual “School’s Open – Drive Carefully” campaign is in its 74th year of reminding drivers across the state to be vigilant and to be aware of children on our roads.

All drivers need to recognize the special safety needs of pedestrians and especially young children. It is important to be aware that all pedestrians have the right of way regardless of the rules of the road. Drivers are obligated to exercise great care and extreme caution near a school or playground. Children are often the least predictable and the most difficult to see.

So as children go back to school, take extra care particularly when you see a school bus and always in all residential areas. Here are some helpful reminders:

  • Always stop for a school bus when the lights are flashing
  • Slow down
  • Remove all distractions from the driver – put cell phones down
  • Do not pass other vehicles
  • Obey crossing guards at all times
  • Expect the unexpected
  • Check you mirrors before moving
  • Teach your children the rules of traffic safety

Please take extra precautions as we enter the school year and thereby create safe driving habits that will last a lifetime and save lives.

Learn more about safe driving and AAA driver programs that we offer. 

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