STONEHAM — As the school year begins, Police Chief James McIntyre and Fire Chief Matthew Grafton would like to offer road safety tips for motorists, children, parents and guardians.
“We want everyone to have a happy, safe start to the school year, and as students begin walking to school again and waiting at bus stops, motorists need to drive carefully and pay attention,” Police Chief McIntyre said. “Remember: never use an electronic device while driving and always watch for pedestrians and bicyclists.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has several tips for motorists as the school year begins:
- Look for children walking or bicycling when backing out of a driveway or garage.
- Be vigilant and watch for children who may be walking or bicycling to school in neighborhoods with school zones.
- Watch out for children who may be crossing the street.
- Be mindful of children who may be standing in a group or playing near a bus stop.
- Slow down.
- Remember: yellow flashing lights signify that a bus is slowing down to either pick up or drop off children. Prepare to stop your vehicle.
- Remember: red flashing lights and extended stop arms signify that a bus has stopped to pick up or drop off children. Drivers traveling in both directions are required to stop their vehicles and wait until the lights stop flashing, the extended stop arm is withdrawn and the bus continues driving.
The Stoneham Police and Fire Departments also wish to remind drivers to stay off of all electronic devices while driving, as even a moment of distraction can cause a deadly accident. Drivers are also reminded to keep the windows of their vehicle clean and clear.
“With the added pedestrians and children on the roads as school begins, we’re urging residents to stay off their electronic devices while driving,” Fire Chief Grafton said. “Even a momentary distraction can result in tragedy, so please pay attention and drive with caution.”
The NHTSA also has several tips for children and parents at bus stops:
- Arrive at the bus stop five minutes early, and wait approximately six feet away from the curb.
- Do not allow children to run or play at a bus stop.
- Wait until the bus stops completely, the door opens and the driver says it is safe to board the bus before getting on.
- Use the handrails on the bus while boarding.
- Do not walk behind a school bus.
- If a child drops an item near a school bus, he or she should first tell the bus driver about the dropped item.
- If a child needs to cross the street to board the bus, he or she should make eye contact with the driver, use the sidewalk until crossing, and walk approximately 10 feet in front of the bus.
Anyone with questions about road safety is encouraged to contact the Stoneham Police Department at 781-438-1215.