Police: Drive Safely When School Starts Back up

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With island keiki heading back to school soon, the Hawai‘i Police Department is encouraging motorists to drive safely when approaching school zones.

School areas have a high number of young pedestrians that interact with vehicle traffic. Hawai‘i Island police encourage all pedestrians to use the crosswalks and follow the directions of the school crossing guards at schools. Adults can be great examples for children when they cross the roadways in a safe manner.

Here are traffic safety tips to keep in mind as children go back to school.

For Drivers:

Slow down. Watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks in the neighborhood.


When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch out for children walking or bicycling to school.

Be alert. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.

Watch for children playing and congregating near bus stops.

Obey the school bus “flashing signal light system” that school bus drivers use to alert motorists of pending actions:

Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children.


Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.

Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate the bus has stopped and children are getting on or off. Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop-arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start driving again.

When driving in neighborhoods with school zones, watch out for young people who may be thinking about getting to school, but may not be thinking of getting there safely.

Riding The School Bus:

School buses are the safest way for children to travel to and from school. However, there are dangers when children are boarding and leaving the bus. Over the last decade, nearly two-thirds of school-age pedestrians fatally injured in school transportation-related crashes were struck by school buses or other vehicles when getting on or off a school bus. Teach your child always to play it SAFE:


Stay five steps away from the curb.

Always wait for the bus driver to tell you when to board.

Face forward after finding a seat on the bus.

Exit the bus when it stops, look left-right-left, and take five steps away from the bus toward the curb.

Driving Your Kids to School:

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said when driving to school make sure there’s a safe driver behind the wheel. Every ride begins with everyone wearing seat belts, using booster seats, or being properly secured in an appropriate car seat. Every child should ride in the back seat; children in the front seat are 40 percent more likely to be injured in crashes.

Discuss safety tips with children, model road safety behaviors, including always buckling up in the car, and following all the rules of the road every time you drive, ride or walk.

We all have a role to play in keeping our students safe. Let’s work together and drive with aloha, slow down when approaching school zones, pay close attention to crosswalks and help the school crossing guards to help children get to school safely.

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