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Back-to-school safety: Watch for kids on streets

August 11, 2016 Updated: August 11, 2016 at 2:50 pm
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More school districts start classes next week, and that means more kids on the roads.

American Medical Response, the ambulance company that services El Paso County, asks drivers to exercise care and caution, particularly in school zones.

More children are injured by cars in September than any other month, said Jon Webb, administrative supervisor with AMR.

Most school zones have posted speed limits of 20 mph or less.

 Studies have found that five percent of pedestrians hit by a vehicle at 20 mph are killed, according to AMR.

The risk of fatality rises to 45 percent when pedestrians are struck by a vehicle going 30 mph, and the risk goes up to 80 percent for a pedestrian who is hit by a vehicle traveling at 40 mph, the ambulance company says.

Drivers can choose a different route that doesn’t have school zones. If needing to drive through one, drivers should obey the speed limit and stop completely at stop signs and crosswalks.

It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children. If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop from either direction on an undivided road.

If you're driving behind a bus, allow a greater following distance than if you were driving behind a car. It will give you more time to stop once the yellow lights start flashing.

Most importantly, be alert – children are often unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks.

For more information on back to school safety, visit the National Safety Council at nsc.org.

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