About 1.3 million students in New Jersey expected to be
driving, walking, riding their bikes or taking the school bus back to
over the next couple weeks. Motor vehicle accidents are the top cause of
death among children in the state, according to officials.
“In a school zone there’s a lot going on between pedestrians, school buses, and students being dropped off,” Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky said. “It is vitally important that motorists be alert and be aware of their surroundings, and that students adhere to pedestrian rules around their school, like only crossing the street at a crosswalk.”
Over the last three years, 71 children under the age of 18, including 21 pedestrians, have been killed in motor vehicle crashes in the state, Poedubicky said. One child under the age of 15 is hit by a car every day in New Jersey, Poedubicky added.
“With summer vacation over, traffic volume in school zones may change in some communities, so it is incumbent upon motorists to proceed with extreme care and obey the posted speed limits in those areas,” Poedubicky said. “Additionally, parents should review safety tips with their children to remind them what it takes to travel safely to and from school.”
Poedubicky reminds drivers to be aware of children walking around bus stops, as they may not be paying attention and wander into the road. He also reminded drivers to be aware of school zone signs and reduced speed limits in school zones; to wait until pedestrians completely cross a crosswalk before proceeding; and not to text and drive.
He reminds students to stop, listen and look before crossing the street; always cross at the crosswalk and obey traffic signals and crossing guards; and to arrive at the bus stop early so they are not in a rush. He also reminds them to wait at least six feet from the curb, and to wait until the bus comes to a complete stop before approaching it.
Additional tips for school zone safety can be found at: www.nj.gov/oag/hts/downloads/School_Zone_Tip_Sheet.pdf
The Motor Vehicle Commission’s (MVC) enhanced School Bus Report Card is available at www.njmvc.gov. The MVC’s School Bus Inspection Unit uses a 180-point review to ensure student transportation vehicles meet strict safety standards.
MVC inspectors also carefully review gas and diesel emissions, and maintenance and daily driver reports.