Summer is Nearly Over

Many parents are probably looking forward to their kids return to school.  My son is an adult and in graduate school (what will he do when he can’t go back to school every fall????) But I do remember back to school shopping and all the preparations to send him back to class.  One thing that shouldn’t be forgotten in all the hustle and preparation:  SAFETY. 

 To help you here are some tips:

Tips for drivers:

  • When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch out for children walking or bicycling to school. Better yet, walk around your car or out to the sidewalk to check for any children walking in your path before you get in.
  • Drive slowly and watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks. Also be aware of children playing or waiting around bus stops.
  • Be alert and aware on the road. While children are typically taught about looking both ways, they could dart into the street without looking if they are late or distracted.
  • Learn the school bus laws. Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to stop to pickup or drop off children. Drivers need to slow down and prepare to stop. Red flashing lights and an extended stop arm signal indicate that the bus is stopped, and that children are getting on or off. Cars must stop a safe distance away and not proceed until the red lights stop flashing, the stop sign folds back, and the bus continues on its way.

 Tips for children:

  • Get to the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.
  • When the bus approaches, stand at least 6 feet away from the curb, and line up away from the street.
  • Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says that it’s okay before stepping onto the bus.
  • If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road to a point at least 10 feet ahead of the bus before you cross. Be sure that the bus driver can see you, and you can see the bus driver.
  • Use the handrails to avoid falls. When exiting the bus, be careful that clothing or backpacks don’t get caught in the handrails or doors.
  • Never walk behind the bus.
  • If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up because the driver may not be able to see you

Another quick tip:  It isn’t unusual for us to conduct special enforcement details this time of year to bring attention to the laws about passing a school bus.  We put an officer on the bus with a radio and he or she calls out to a patrol car trailing the bus the description of any vehicles passing the bus.  The patrol car makes the stop and writes the ticket.  The bus drivers love it, the ticketed drivers not so much.  But it does highlight the serious nature of the violation. 

And another thing.  Please lookout for our crossing guard, Tamara Eddington, who crosses kids at Walton and Dexter, three times every school day.  The law requires drivers to obey her stop sign when she is in the street.  She was in today for her annual training so she’ll be ready for the kids when they return next week. 

I hope all you kids have a great year and get all “A” grades.  More than that I hope it is a safe year for all of our kids and families here in Auburn Hills.

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I'm the Chief of Police for the Auburn Hills Police Department.