Whether back-to-school has you breathing a sigh of relief or bemoaning the end to summer fun, it means big changes for everyone.
For parents and students, it’s the start of a new routine. For teachers, it’s time to learn dozens of new names and faces. And for everyone else, it’s busier roadways, school buses and more young people driving, walking and biking to school.
At Regional One Health, we know everyone plays a role in keeping kids safe as they make their way to class, and we encourage the community to be extra vigilant during the school year – especially now, when the stress of getting used to new routines is at a peak.
Local students are going back to school this week and in the weeks to come. Everyone can do their part to keep them safe by being vigilant on the roadways.
Robert Mabe, NRP, FP-C, EMSI, Trauma and Burn Outreach Coordinator said there are simple steps families should keep in mind as they send their kids off to school.
“We know walking and biking can be a fun and healthy way to get around – but it can also be dangerous. Take simple precautions to stay safe, and for kids biking to school, wearing a helmet is a must! Studies have found a 65 percent or more decrease in severe head and face injuries when used,” Mabe said.
“Children riding school buses should stay aware of their surroundings, walk around the bus in areas where they can see the driver and the driver can see them, and never assume other vehicles will stop for a stopped bus, even with lights and crossing bars activated.”
Mabe also cautioned kids and adults to minimize electronic distractions so they are aware of the vehicles around them; and to make themselves visible, especially if their trip to or from school happens when it isn’t fully light outside.
Motorists who aren’t part of the school commute can also do their part.
Leave extra time to get where you need to go, and be aware of school zones along your route. Also, keep in mind that Tennessee’s new “hands free law” prohibits all drivers from using their cell phone while driving – and violations that occur in school zones incur a hefty $200 fine.
The National Safety Council offers the following tips to make sure everyone puts safety first.