Cassville Chief urges caution as school year begins

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Cassville R-4 School District will resume classes on Wednesday, Aug. 17. The Cassville Police Department plans to increase patrols around the district's campuses before and after school to ensure school zone laws and safety are observed by drivers and pedestrians.

School zone speed limits are designated by signs and flashing lights, which are activated during the hours when reduced speeds are required.

"There needs to be equal awareness and responsibility with parents and school children as well as drivers in the area," said Cassville Police Chief Dana Kammerlohr. "We want parents to have multiple conversations with their school children about safety before and during the school year."

Parents are encouraged to discuss and map out safe walking routes with their children. Adults should also walk the route with kids before the school year begins to ensure students are familiar with the path.

Stressing the importance of crossing at crosswalks and other safe locations and discussing the meaning of traffic symbols can also help kids stay safe during the school year.

Children should understand the importance of cooperating with police, school safety patrol officers and adult crossing guards. They should learn to stop, listen and look for approaching and turning vehicles before crossing streets and allow themselves enough time to cross the street safely.

Parents should teach children to walk, not run, across streets and look for vehicles as they are crossing. Children should also be advised to go directly to and from school or their bus stop.

Adults should also make sure children know to walk facing traffic and as far away from the roadway surface as possible when walking on a street that does not offer a sidewalk.

Children who must walk before daylight or after dark should wear something reflective or light-colored clothing and carry a flashlight. Students should exercise additional caution when walking in the dark or during bad weather when drivers have trouble seeing and stopping.

Children who ride the bus to and from school should wait in a safe location off the roadway. Once on the bus, kids should remain in their seats while the bus is in motion and keep their head and arms inside the bus at all times.

Parents should also encourage kids to be alert to traffic when getting on or off the bus and follow instructions given by their bus driver.

According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), traffic collisions are the leading cause of death for children under the age of 15. Children account for nearly one-third of all pedestrian and vehicle casualties.

To help protect children, AAA offers encourages drivers to slow down near schools and in residential areas, drive with headlights on, scan between parked cars and other objects for kids and always stop for school buses.

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