RAYBROOK - New York State Police are once again reminding motorists to take extra caution when out and about now that school is in session.
State police support the New York State Automobile Association's annual "School's Open - Drive Carefully" safety campaign by placing bumper stickers on all marked state police patrol vehicles. Each year, the AAA program helps to safeguard elementary school children during the critical back-to-school period.
Troop B Commander Maj. Richard C. Smith Jr. reminds the public thousands of children are now boarding buses and walking to and from school, some of them for the first time, leading for a need to exercise safe driving habits.
"Everyone who drives has a responsibility to be especially careful during this busy time and the 'School's Open - Drive Safely' bumper stickers will help remind motorists to be alert for these youngsters," said Smith. "Children tend to be at greater risk during the back-to-school period because they tend to be thinking more about seeing old friends and meeting new teachers than watching for cars and trucks. Others are going to school for the first time."
In order to additionally protect children, the state police, the Automobile Club of New York Inc., and AAA also recommend children look both ways before crossing streets, cross only at corners, play away from traffic, watch for turning cars, and obey the directions of crossing guards and police officers.
Smith also recommended that parents and guardians "pre-walk" their youngsters to and from school along a predetermined route before sending them out alone. Children should be taught to use only the established route, and to wear brightly colored or reflective clothing in bad weather for maximum visibility and safety.
The New York State Police reminded motorists state law requires all vehicles to stop when meeting or overtaking school buses stopped, with red lights flashing, and to pick up or discharge passengers. Failure to obey this law is a dangerous violation that could result the loss of a young person's life and a minimum fine of $250.