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Back to School: Tarrytowns School District Drivers Urged to Watch Out for Kids, School Buses

With classes about to start up again, buses can been seen driving around the villages.

Police are reminding drivers in the villages that with the holiday weekend over, local children are heading back to school.

Police and safety groups such as the New York chapter of AAA warn that many children and school buses will be on the streets during the mornings and afternoons starting on Wednesday, and that drivers should be on alert for an increase in pedestrians and remember to stop for school buses that have activated their warning signals.

The afternoon hours are especially dangerous for walking children, with AAA noting that over the last decade, nearly one-third of child pedestrian fatalities occurred between 3 and 7 p.m.

“More than 1,200 children lost their lives during these after-school hours between 2000 and 2010,” said Jennifer Huebner-Davidson, AAA manager of Traffic Safety Advocacy, “Although we’ve seen a steady decrease in the number of tragedies each year, it’s important to remember that one death is one too many.”

Throughout New York, State Police Major Edward Raso said state troopers help support the AAA’s annual “School’s Open—Drive Carefully” campaign. Raso said motorists will receive an reminder to drive carefully each time they see one of the “School’s Open” bumper stickers on state police patrol cars as well as other official vehicles, school buses and passenger cars. 

"With the start of the school year upon us, parents, friends, and citizens must work with law enforcement to keep our young citizens safe by making sure we all pay particular attention to walking children, school bus traffic, and school zones,” New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico said.

Raso said motorists should be particularly alert for children darting out between parked cars on busy streets.

Here are six more tips from AAA:

  1. Slow down.  Speed limits in school zones are reduced for a reason. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 25 mph is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed compared to a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling just 10 mph faster.
  2. Eliminate distractions. Children often cross the road unexpectedly and may emerge suddenly between two parked cars. Research shows that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chances of crashing.
  3. Reverse responsibly.  Every vehicle has blind spots. Check for children on the sidewalk, driveway and around your vehicle before slowly backing up. Teach your children to never play in, under or around vehicles—even those that are parked.
  4. Talk to your teen. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, and more than one in four fatal crashes involving teen drivers occur during the after-school hours of 3 to 7 p.m. Get evidence-based guidance and tips at TeenDriving.AAA.com.
  5. Come to a complete stop. Research shows that more than one third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods. Always come to a complete stop, checking carefully for children on sidewalks and in crosswalks before proceeding.
  6. Watch for bicycles. Children on bikes are often inexperienced, unsteady and unpredictable. Slow down and allow at least three feet of passing distance between your vehicle and the bicycle.  If your child rides a bicycle to school, require that they wear a properly-fitted bicycle helmet on every ride. Find videos, expert advice and safety tips at ShareTheRoad.AAA.com.
J. Cattano September 04, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Why is there nothing at the crosswalk where so many students cross, near Pine Close and Bedford Rd. (Rt. 448)? This is a very steep hill with a blind spot; the cars shoot up and down rarely if ever stopping for the kids trying to cross. There's faded paint where a cross walk was once put in, and no other sign indicating pedestrian crossing! -Are we waiting for a tragedy to occur before we do anything PRO-ACTIVE? * A coat of fresh paint that glows in the dark, on the cross walk - and signs facing in either direction alerting cars they they need to STOP for pedestrians like the ones going down Main Street in Irvington would be cheap and will save a life for sure! Can't the Village of Sleepy Hollow afford to do this? Seems like a VERY inexpensive way to save lives.
Patricia September 04, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Teach your children to cross with a purpose, like getting to the other side. Parents can also leave them selves a little extra time when dropping their kids off at WIMS so they are not rushing, it's ok to be early. The children at W.I.M.S should be crossing directly in front of the school entrance, I don't known why the school has them crossing at South Broadway and Franklin St. Oh wait I do know why, because that is the way they did it 60 years ago so that's the way it has to be done today.
J. Cattano September 05, 2012 at 11:52 AM
@ Patricia- My children DO NOT cross to get to the middle - they cross to get to the other side!! -Your comments are argumentative, ignorant and serve no purpose. The issue is not about what happened 60 years ago. I actually drive my kids to school, but there are so many mornings that I see cars that just fly past kids waiting to cross that street - perhaps you are one of them...
Ethel September 05, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Patricia -- Perhaps the commuters could leave early so they are not whizzing around the streets around WI trying to make their trains. There are many cut through streets behind WI where commuters don't stop at stop signs, regularly speed, and I've seen more than a few go around stopped school buses.
Rose Sawyer September 05, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Patricia, you sound like a senior citizen, and perhaps you have not noticed, but there are many ways for the kids to access the school other than to go the one way you insist upon. If and when God forbid one of our kids gets hurt by speeding drivers that could care less about following the rules you will probably be one of those folks saying - "serves them right for not crossing where I said they should..." - Are you kidding me...?
Rose Sawyer September 05, 2012 at 07:52 PM
I totally agree, the steep hill and the blind spot on Bedford Rd. are a recipe for disaster. I can't believe the village has done nothing to help out for SAFE crossing. It's really unacceptable that there is not even a SCHOOL CROSSING sign.
Heron September 05, 2012 at 08:19 PM
I don't think she sounds like a senior citizen. She uses the phrase, "Oh wait I do know why", which is usually not the writing style of an older person.
Krista Madsen (Editor) September 05, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Update to all this with comments from Police Chief Brown on pedestrian safety coming in the morning! Any other intersections that have you scared to cross?
joy September 05, 2012 at 09:00 PM
H Bridge
Patricia September 06, 2012 at 12:28 AM
I will stop when I see a pedestrian in the crosswalk, be it a child or an adult. Just because someone is standing at the corner does not mean the flow of traffic should come to a stop at that very moment, it is ok for a pedestrian to wait a minute or so before being able to cross. My suggestion for the children to cross in front of the school was for safety reasons, not for any other reason. The intersection where the children cross now (franklin and route 9) is very busy and dangerous, the vehicles don't even stop for the police officer in the street.
J. Cattano September 06, 2012 at 01:16 AM
@ Patricia... My comment was based on the crosswalk on BEDFORD RD. and PINE CLOSE - WHY are you still writing about Franklin Street? I never ever mentioned that area! And why for God's sake do you feel so much hostility towards pedestrians?? Do you have children walking to school... doubt it!
Rose Sawyer September 06, 2012 at 01:23 AM
I am not going to waste my time even commenting on Patricia's ridiculous comments. The point here is that there is a very dangerous senario at Bedford Rd. and Pine St. the cross walk is faded and there is NO OTHER form of notice to the cars that come speeding down that blind curvey hill. Why havn't the Officials of Sleepy hollow done something about this area? I can't even count how many times I have seen kids waiting there to cross while the cars speed right by. It is a disaster waiting to happen- and then they can all say - "why was there no sign or freshly painted significant cross walk there where they KNEW so many students crossed each and every day!! It is really outrageous that this has not ever been addressed. I sure do hope it's not a too little too late thing here in SH.

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