OPD Offers Back To School Safety Tips

OSWEGO, NY – It’s that time of year when children start heading back to school.

The Oswego City Police Department wishes to remind citizens of these, easy to follow, back to school safety tips.

School bus transportation is safe. In fact, buses are safer than cars!

Even so, every year, students are killed and injured in incidents involving school buses.

More often than not, these deaths and injuries didn’t occur in a crash, but as the pupils were entering and exiting the bus.

Remember these safety tips:

• Have a safe place to wait for your bus, away from traffic and the street.
• Stay away from the bus until it comes to a complete stop and the driver signals
• When being dropped off, exit the bus and walk ten giant steps away from the bus. Keep a safe distance between you and the bus.
Also, remember that the bus driver can see you best when you are back away from the bus.
• Use the handrail to enter and exit the bus.
• Stay away from the bus until the driver gives his/her signal that it’s OK  to
• Be aware of the street traffic around you. Drivers are required to follow certain rules of the road concerning school buses, however, not all do.

Protect yourself walking and biking to school.

Even if you don’t ride in a motor vehicle, you still have to protect yourself.

Because of minimal supervision, young pedestrians face a wide variety of decisions making situations and dangers while walking to and from school.

Here are a few basic safety tips:

• Mind all traffic signals and/or the crossing guard — never cross the street against a light, even if you don’t see any traffic coming.
• Walk your bike through intersections.
• Walk with a buddy.
• Wear reflective material…it makes you more visible to street traffic.

Riding in a Car

• You might have heard before that most traffic crashes occur close to home … they do.
• Safety belts are the best form of protection a passenger has in the event of a crash. They can lower your risk of injury by 45%.
• You are four times more likely to be seriously injured or killed if ejected from the vehicle in a crash.
• Everyone needs to be buckled up properly. That means older kids in seat belts, younger kids in booster seats and little kids in child safety seats.

Driving a Car

• It is illegal – and very dangerous – to pass a stopped school bus when the large red lights, located on top of the bus, are flashing. Flashing lights mean the bus is picking up or discharging students. Most buses are also equipped with a retractable stop sign to serve as an additional warning device.
• You must stop whether you are approaching the school bus from the front or overtaking it from the rear.
• You must always stop for flashing red lights, even on divided and multilane highways and on school grounds.
• The first-time penalty for illegally passing a school bus is a $250 fine, 5 points on your license, and/or possibly 30 days in jail.

Officers of the Oswego City Police Department will be specifically targeting areas in and around local school zones as the beginning of the school year approaches.

The increased enforcement effort is done, in part, to remind motorists of the returning school children and to make those areas as safe as possible for all.

To learn more about these back to school and other safety tips please visit the following web sites:

National Safety Council at www.nsc.org

Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee at www.nysgtsc.state.ny.us

National Crime Prevention Council at www.ncpc.org