Drivers should remember that as the new school year begins, kids will be walking, crossing streets and maybe even horsing around a bit on their way to school. Parents should also talk to their kids about getting to and from school safely.
Here are 10 tips for adults and children on back-to-school traffic safety:
Don't text while driving. Don't talk on your phone or send text messages while you're driving. Apart from the safety concerns, it's important to practice what you preach -- don't text and drive.
Watch out for hot spots. Keep an eye out for those child "hot spots" like marked school zones, as well as areas near bus stops and bike lanes.
Yield to school buses. Don't try to overtake the bus (like one impatient driver in Ohio who was sentenced by a court to wear an "Idiot" sign around her neck) -- it's a moving violation (and rude, too). If a bus has a flashing, alternating red light, you are legally required to stop and wait for the light to turn off.
Expect the unexpected. Children can dart out unexpectedly. Follow the speed limit, yield to crossing guards and be vigilant.
Budget extra travel time. School areas are congested, so allow for more time to get where you're going. The extra time will help you avoid bouts of road rage and avoid accidents.
Exercise crosswalk safety. Tell your kids to cross streets only at crosswalks or stoplights and to always looks both ways before crossing.
Use the buddy system. Make sure you have the contact information of your child's walking buddy and know their walking route. If the children are under 10, an adult chaperone may be necessary.
Avoid danger zones. Tell your children to avoid walking or riding bikes behind school buses and other dangerous blind spots.
Practice school bus safety. Train your kids to be very careful when exiting the bus. School bus fatalities can occur when kids run out in front of the bus or get struck by passing cars.
Wear bike safety equipment. Children who bike to school should wear helmets, light-colored clothing and reflective devices.
For more tips, check out FindLaw's informative section on Traffic Laws.