MINNEAPOLIS (Aug. 30, 2013) — The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is urging motorists to use extra caution at the start of the school year and reminds everyone not to engage in distracted driving.
Anyone behind the wheel should drive attentively and watch for children on sidewalks, along roadways, and at all crosswalks. Minnesota is one of 39 states that ban texting and driving. It’s estimated there are 100,000 crashes each year in the U.S. due to texting and driving.
“There have been lives forever changed due to injuries and deaths after vehicle crashes involving distracted driving,” said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, “I urge you to focus on your responsibility to drive safely and use additional caution – especially near school zones.”
Motorists are also reminded of reduced speeds in school zones. The Sheriff’s Office and many local police departments will provide additional patrols near schools – especially during morning arrival and afternoon dismal times.
Parents should review school bus safety tips with their children.
The Sheriff’s Office offers these tips for motorists, parents, and children:
• Reduce speeds in and around school zones.
• You might consider changing your route in order to avoid school bus traffic or areas with additional pedestrian activity.
• Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and curbs.
• Be prepared to stop for the school bus.
• Enter and exit driveways, parking lots, and alleys slowly and carefully.
• Do not engage in distracted driving. Put down the phone and focus on driving. Texting while driving is against the law in Minnesota.
• Watch for pedestrian traffic and prepare to stop if a pedestrian is approaching the intersection.
Review with children:
• Never run out into the street or cross in between parked cars.
• Create a morning schedule that allows plenty of time to arrive to the bus stop at an appropriate time. It’s not safe for children to run into the street because they are worried about missing the bus.
• Make sure children walk 5-10 steps in front of the bus where the driver can see them.
• Wait for the driver to signal that it’s safe to cross.
• Wait for the bus in a safe place – not on the street or curb.
• Parents should remind children about appropriate behavior on the bus in order to allow the bus driver to concentrate on driving.
• When exiting the bus, move away from the bus as soon as possible to the sidewalk or roadside.
• If you miss your bus, do NOT run after it to catch it due to safety risks.
• Parents should walk the route to school with students before the start of the year and select a course with the least number of traffic crossings.
• Cross only at intersections or crosswalks and obey all traffic signs and signals.
• Do not enter a crosswalk if a vehicle is too close or moving too fast to stop.
• In general, children under age 10 should cross the street with an adult.