Drivers warned to be extra cautious around schools.
As students assemble on school campuses throughout the Santa
Clarita Valley and school bells ring in another new school year, parents should
discuss safety rules with their children, and motorists should remember to be
alert for children near schools and bus stops.
"We should always be aware and cautious when we are
driving, but need to take extra precautions now that many schools are back in
session and our children will be near our busy roadways in great numbers on a
daily basis," said Captain Anthony La Berge. "Expect the unexpected when it comes to
children, roadways, and intersections.
Don't assume the child will not step out into the street, assume the
opposite and be ready to react."
Thousands of children are injured or killed in accidents
involving pedestrians and automobiles in California
every year. Sheriff’s officials believe that parents, friends and mentors
should take the time to discuss a few simple safety rules with children.
Motorists should re-familiarize themselves with traffic laws
and the safe operation of motor vehicles, especially those pertaining to school
zones. One of the easiest things for
motorists to do is drive with their headlights on during all hours; studies
have shown that vehicles with their lights on during the day are significantly
easier to see by pedestrians than those without lights on.
Also, persons operating motor vehicles should be aware of
clues that children might be present, including crossing guards, school buses,
and playgrounds. Finally, motorists
should remember that the speed limit is reduced in school zones. Children 12 and under should not ride in the
front seat of a car, whether it has front passenger airbags or not.
Children under 6 years of age, or weighing less than 60
pounds, must ride in an approved child restraint device.
If your child rides a bicycle to school, make sure he or she
knows the rules of the road and follows them.
Parents should ensure they wear a helmet and that their bicycle is
working properly. Children who walk to
school should always walk in groups, and parents should remind them not to take
shortcuts through dirt fields or alleys.
Pedestrians should cross at designated crosswalks, following
the old rule of looking to the left, to the right, and to the left again before
crossing the street. Extra caution
should be exercised in bad weather by motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians
Perhaps the single biggest challenge around our schools is
pick up and drop off times. If possible,
walk your child to school or take alternative transportation. If not, arrive early, be patient and
courteous to other motorists, park legally, and take consideration of the
neighborhood you are in. Avoid parking
in driveways, stay off of private property and others front lawns, and be
respectful of others. Treat other
dwellings and property in the neighborhood as you would your own.
Deputies say that personal safety rules are of utmost
importance and should be emphasized to children over and over again. Remind them to yell or scream and run away if
an unknown person tries to grab them.
They should never speak to strangers in public or on the Internet, nor should
they believe a message from a stranger.
As soon as children are able to do so, have them memorize
their address, phone number, and full name.
Parents should carry a current picture of their child and be ready to
provide an accurate physical description at a moments notice including, height,
weight, hair and eye color, identifying marks or characteristics and
Be familiar with your child's friends and acquaintances and
their contact information including addresses and phone numbers.
"We should all take the time to ensure our children are
educated and aware," concluded Captain La Berge. "If you see something that is not right
in or around our schools at any time you should immediately call the Santa
Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station."
For additional school safety tips visit the following link: Back-to-School Safety