From the Harford County Sheriff’s Office:
[August 22, 2013, Harford County, MD] — Another school year is upon us and Sheriff’s deputies say it serves to remind each of us of the additional safety concerns, we must take as drivers, to reduce the risk of injury to school children.
Although children have been outside playing all summer it has been typically at ball fields, parks and playgrounds. With school in session children will be walking to school, congregating at bus stops, and will be more visible on town and county streets and roads. Noteworthy here is that some of these time periods will occur in the early morning hours while it is still dark.
Sheriff’s deputies remind drivers to be alert at all times and of the need to not only reduce speed countywide but especially in school zones and in areas where children walk to school. Drivers should take time now to identify these high risk areas. Drivers are also reminded they are required to stop for school buses and to be alert for children who may dart into traffic after getting off the bus. Additionally, distracted driving is a serious concern and police continue to stress that drivers should not text or operate cell phones while driving.
Police also emphasize that pedestrians have a stake in their own safety and offer the following advice. Parents should teach children how to safely cross streets by following the direction of school crossing guards and mechanical cross walk signs. Children should look both ways and cross at the crosswalks – never from between parked cars. Children should preferably wear bright clothing and parents can even consider purchasing flashing strobe lights that attach to back packs. These lights are quite visible, day or night, and often draw the driver’s attention to the pedestrian. And, while we know this is difficult because of its popularity, children should not be walking with ear buds as this reduces their ability to hear oncoming traffic nor should they be texting while walking where their attention is distracted further exposing them to risk.
Sheriff L. Jesse Bane, says, “Deputy Sheriffs in Harford County are parents too and want everyone’s children, like their own, to come home safe each day. Working together as a community, striving to be responsible drivers and pedestrians, are the first steps and go a long way in achieving that goal”, he concluded.