Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Back-to-school safety top priority for Colorado Springs police

By Andrea Sinclair Updated: August 18, 2014 at 8:01 am

Thousands of elementary school-aged children in Colorado Springs return to school Monday and police will try to keep them all safe as they cross streets, walk through intersections and ride school buses.

Since last week, motorcycle officers have made school-zone safety their top priority, actively watching for speeders and distracted drivers, said Colorado Springs police Lt. Bret Poole.

"The motor unit is back doing school-zone enforcement with increased patrols Mondays through Fridays," Poole said. "All officers in the patrol division are aware of the school zones, but it's the No. 1 priority for the motor police."

Motor officers have been looking for violators who speed, don't stop at stop signs or slow at intersections and distracted drivers, Poole explained.

Colorado Springs police partners with Drive Smart Colorado, a nonprofit organization that aims to improve traffic safety in Colorado with campaigns to reduce traffic-related injuries and fatalities through education and public awareness.

Police and Drive Smart released a statement with tips for parents, drivers and students to stay safe as the school year kicks off:

- Walk on the sidewalk, if one is available. When on a street with no sidewalk, walk facing traffic.

- Before crossing a street, stop and look left, right and left again to see if cars are coming.

- Cross streets at crosswalks when available.

- Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is preparing to stop to pick up or drop off children. Drivers need to slow and prepare to stop.

- Colorado law states all drivers must stop at least 20 feet before reaching a school bus stopped with its red lights flashing on any side of the road.

- Drivers must remain stopped until the flashing red lights are no longer operating, the stop arm folds back and the bus continues on its way.

- Watch carefully for children near the school bus and children crossing the roadway.

According to the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation, 97,000 bus drivers reported 75,966 stop arm violations in one single day during the 2013-2014 school year nationwide.

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Contact Andrea Sinclair: 636-0235

Twitter @GazetteAndrea

Facebook andrea.sinclair.376

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