More than 3,000 students will return to Key West schools on Wednesday, August 10. Amid the commotion of the season, it is essential always to remember our number one back-to-school priority: keeping kids safe.
Whether you have kids in school or not, be ready to adjust your schedule to accommodate the traffic slowdowns that occur when school is in session. Patience is the essential thing that every motorist can bring to the table. It's worth allowing a little more time to get around to be sure that all Key West kids are safe on their way to and from school.
Here are some child safety tips to keep in mind:
• If your child is walking to or from school, walk the route with them beforehand. Choose the most direct way, and be sure the road has sufficient sidewalks, lighting, and crossing guards. If a crossing guard is absent, be sure your child knows when it is safe to cross the street.
• Make sure your child walks to and from school with other trusted schoolmates and follows the tried and true axiom, "Never talk to strangers."
• Teach your kids to obey all traffic signals when walking or biking to school.
• When biking, be sure your child has a helmet.
• When waiting for the school bus, always stand on the sidewalk, away from the roadway. Always remain seated while on the bus.
• Be sure your child knows a phone number where you can be reached in case of an emergency.
Being hit by a car poses the greatest threat to any child walking or riding a bicycle to school. As drivers, it is our responsibility to avoid dangerous distractions behind the wheel. Pay particular attention to crosswalks and areas around schools where children could potentially run into the roadway. Don't text or talk on the phone; it's not worth the risk of a potential tragedy.
This is an excellent time to look at your driving habits and review the rules of the road. Florida law prohibits passing a school bus in either direction when it is stopped with its red lights flashing. Drivers must also remember to slow down to the posted speed limit in school zones. The Key West Police Department does not tolerate negligent actions that could harm our community's children. Anyone caught passing a stopped school bus or speeding in a school zone can expect to be stopped and cited accordingly.
It is up to us to ensure that our school children are safe. Please do your part and be aware as you drive.