Community urged to take it slow as kids get back to school

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Summer is nearing its end, which means thousands of kids will be heading back to school around the Rochester area. Many will be taking the bus and others will walk. Either way, their safety is something that should be at the top of all our minds.

“Children are often the least predictable and the most difficult to see,” said AAA communications specialist Mark Gruba.

“Pack your patience,” Gruba said. “People when they’re headed to work are in such a hurry these days and they’re multitasking behind the wheel of a car and so often they’re inclination is to surge ahead.”

On average a pedestrian is killed every 2 hours and more than 25% of child pedestrian fatalities happen after school between 3-7 p.m., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“Passing a school bus is a serious infraction,” said New York state trooper Jason Klewicki. “It’s a five-point violation. We will be out there and if we do observe those violations, you will be ticketed and it’s almost half your license with just one ticket.”

Klewicki said distracted driving is the biggest issue they see even in school zones. He said parents send their kids to school with the expectation they’ll safely return home, and police will be out in full force to make sure that happens.

“Just drive when you’re behind the wheel,” he said. “You’re behind a 2,000-pound vehicle and things can change in a minute, traffic can stop, things can get backed up and we want you to be aware and fully aware of what’s going on, on the road.”