Back-to-School Safety Reminders from the Mt. Diablo Unified School District

August 17, 2017 14:15 pm · 12 comments

With the new school year beginning next Tuesday, August 22, it’s important for students, parents and the public to remember to exercise additional caution on or around school campuses.

As experts point out, school safety begins before students arrive at schools, and it doesn’t end until they arrive safely back home.

To ensure optimal safety for all students, the Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) would like to offer these back-to-school safety guidelines.

Walking to School

While going on foot to school can offer some real health benefits, safety should be the top priority for anyone walking to school.  Follow these steps to plan a safe route to school. Find the safest route to school by looking for:

  • Places to walk or bicycle that are separated from traffic
    • Choose sidewalks or paths wherever possible, even if that means the trip will take a little longer.
    • If there are no sidewalks or paths, walk as far from motor vehicles as possible, on the side of the street facing traffic.
  • Places to cross (if necessary).
    • Minimize the number of street crossings.
    • Avoid busy, high-speed or multi-lane roads, wherever possible.
    • When available, cross at a location with an adult school crossing guard.
  • Pedestrian- and bike-friendly drivers
    • Look for places where drivers are paying attention, yielding to pedestrians and cyclists and respecting speed limits.
  • A comfortable feeling
    • Use a route that avoids potential problems like loose dogs, the presence of criminal activity, vacant buildings or poorly lit streets.

To avoid injury:
•    Never let children under age 10 cross the street alone.
•    Teach children to recognize and obey traffic signals and pavement markings.
•    Choose the safest route between home and school and practice walking it with children until they can demonstrate traffic safety awareness.

Riding the Bus

More than 2,000 MDUSD students take the bus each day to 49 school sites and educational centers, accounting for more than two million miles driven annually by our bus drivers. Although bus travel is one of the safest ways to get to and from school, injuries can still occur, and most of them take place when children are getting on or off the bus. Some safety tips for riding the bus are:
•    Arrive at the bus stop at least 10 minutes before the scheduled arrival of the bus.
•    Stay out of the street and don’t horseplay while waiting.
•    Wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before getting on or off.
•    Remain seated and keep head and arms inside the bus always.
•    Do not shout or distract the driver.
•    Do not walk in the driver’s “blind spot” — the area from the front of the bus to about 12 feet in front of the bus.

Bicycle/Wheel Safety

Bicycle riding is a healthy and fun activity; good for people and good for the environment.  However, unsafe practices while riding a bicycle are still associated with a significant number of childhood injuries. According to a safety study from Safe Kids, while bicycling injuries have been declining, other wheeled sports, such as scootering and skateboarding, have seen an increase.  To make sure children are safe when riding bicycles, scooters, or skateboards to school, parents and children should:

  • Wear a properly fitted helmet for every ride – they are the best way to prevent head injuries and death in the event of a crash.
  • Ride in safe locations like sidewalks, bike paths or bike lanes whenever possible.
  • Follow the rules of the road.
  • Ride with your children until you are comfortable with them riding on their own.
  • Check all equipment at the start or end of every season.

There are numerous organizations in the East Bay which promote safe and fun bicycle riding.  Bike East Bay has a Concord campaign with dozens of free classes for adults, teens, and kids to learn to ride, attend family cycling workshops or gain urban riding skills.  Learn more at https://bikeeastbay.org/campaigns/concord.

Driving

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths among children age 14 and under.  Tips from the American Automotive Association (AAA) include:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Eliminate distractions. Research shows that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chances of crashing. And children can be quick, crossing the road unexpectedly or emerging suddenly between two parked cars. Reduce risk by not using your cell phone or eating while driving, for example.
  • Reverse responsibly. Every vehicle has blind spots. Check for children on the sidewalk, in the driveway and around your vehicle before slowly backing up. Teach your children to never play in, under or around vehicles.
  • 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 a bicyclist. If your child rides a bicycle to school, require that he or she wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet on every ride.
  • Talk to your teen. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, and nearly one in four fatal crashes involving teen drivers occur during the after-school hours of 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

RELATED RESOURCES

General Back to School Safety – https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/Pages/Safety-On-The-Way-To-School.aspx

 

Pedestrian Safety

Bicycle Safety Resources

Driving Safety

1 Savage August 17, 2017 at 4:21 PM

Everybody not going to should should equally be aware of crazy driving parents around school grounds, they are very dangerous drivers always. Anticipate their stupidity before it involves you because it will happen.

2 whodat August 17, 2017 at 5:29 PM

Yes, all you idiot speeders: it’s time to ignore not just the regular pedestrians, but also the kids crossing the streets. I’d like to see the PD do a lot more stings on this p[problem. The fines issued should be high enough to pay for a couple more motorcycle officers.

3 Keep all three Barrels Up August 17, 2017 at 5:53 PM

The only way people will get the message is if they receive a citation from the police. Otherwise it’s a free for all.

4 Cellophane August 17, 2017 at 6:00 PM

If this unionized monopoly posing as a school district didn’t tell parents and children what to do to be safe, there would be mayhem and chaos.

So few people can think for themselves any longer.

Just do as your told sheeple and everything will be just fine.

5 Annonmom August 17, 2017 at 6:02 PM

Savage you are so right, I can’t count the number of times I have been nearly run over in the middle of the crosswalk near the school where I work. Between parents on their phone or texting or distracted by junior in the backseat it does not seem to end. Stop multi-tasking behind the wheel!

6 TIFOKCIS August 17, 2017 at 8:49 PM

The idiots driving their precious Little Skylar are the worst.

Soccer Moms in their 4Runners come to mind.

7 frustrated August 17, 2017 at 9:18 PM

Parents also need to drive safely through school, parking lots.

Drive like your kids go here !

8 Concerned Parent August 18, 2017 at 12:23 PM

@3 I agree. Officers patrolling school zones could help decrease accidents. Or parents could just pay better attention to what they’re doing. Maybe leave an extra 5 or 10 minutes from their usual departure time so they aren’t rushing.

@7 I’m sure one of the main reasons parents drive through school parking lots is to drop off their child or if they worked there. Otherwise, I’d question why any parent or person would be driving in a school lot if they had no children attending the school.

9 Boneguy1 August 18, 2017 at 12:52 PM

I want to echo the initial comment from Savage and the others as someone who walks and volunteers around the Elementary School and the Middle School; it is the distracted drivers that are the biggest danger. If you want to watch your kid then park, if you want to socialize with the other parents then go get coffee away from school don’t stop to chat,and if you think your life is that damn important that you can’t afford to miss that call or text LEAVE THE DAMN PHONE AT HOME PLEASE!

Oh and buy the way a STOP sign at a crosswalk sign means just that and a yellow light at a crosswalk does not mean speed through it.

But the worse is the phones which I think if they get caught on it should be immediately confiscated, put in front of the drivers front tire and then made to drive over it. – Maybe then they would think twice.

10 anon August 18, 2017 at 2:47 PM

“Everybody not going to should should equally be aware of crazy driving parents around school grounds, they are very dangerous drivers always. Anticipate their stupidity before it involves you because it will happen.”

You have no idea

RETIRED OFFICER

11 frustrated August 18, 2017 at 5:26 PM

Concerned parent,…you are correct..The only reason a parent drives through the parking lot is to pick up their children. It was a somewhat sarcastic comment…could have been reworded to say…SLOW DOWN…your kids also go here.

12 anonnnnaannoonn August 18, 2017 at 5:54 PM

Yeah…..parents want the schools to teach their kids to read and comprehend, but the parents themselves can’t read the “NO STUDENT DROP-OFF” and STAFF PARKING ONLY” signs at the school, esp at Westwood Elem.! They all think they are the exception to the rule, or that their child is special and deserves special treatment! SO FRUSTRATING!!!!!!!!!!

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