As summer break comes to an end, Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman is asking drivers to help make this a safe-school year by watching for children walking to and from school.
The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office is launching an enforcement and public education campaign as part of the agency's efforts to ensure the safety and welfare for the children returning to school.
Over the next few weeks Loudoun Sheriff's Deputies will be conducting a Back-to-School campaign strictly enforcing speed and other traffic violations around local schools. Loudoun Sheriff's Deputies will be utilizing RADAR, LIDAR, "Smart Trailers", variable message boards to display safety messages, marked and unmarked cruisers, as well as the agency's motorcycle unit.
In his annual video message Sheriff Chapman is reminding drivers to "follow all speed and traffic signs, obey all signals by law enforcement and crossing guards, and take extra precaution in the areas of elementary, middle and high schools throughout the county." To view the safety message from Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman, please visit http://www.sheriff.loudoun.gov/back2school
The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office is offering these safety tips for students and parents:
Walking to School
- In neighborhoods with higher levels of traffic, consider starting a "walking school bus," in which an adult accompanies a group of neighborhood children walking to school.
- If your child is young or is walking to a new school, walk with them the first week to make sure they know the route and can do it safely.
- Bright colored clothing will make your child more visible to drivers.
- Do not push or shove others when you walk.
- When crossing the street, look left-right-left for cars. Do not cross if a car is coming and use a crosswalk if available.
Riding your Bicycle
- Always wear a bicycle helmet, no matter how short or long the ride.
- Ride on the right, in the same direction as auto traffic.
- Use appropriate hand signals.
- Respect traffic lights and stop signs.
- Wear bright color clothing to increase visibility.
- Know the "rules of the road."
- Never use headphones or cell phones while riding.
Tips for Motorists
- All passengers should wear a seat belt and/or an age- and size-appropriate car safety seat or booster seat.
- Do not text or talk on your cell phone while driving.
- Slow down and obey all traffic laws and speed limits.
- Be alert for school zones that have a reduced speed limit at designated times of the day.
- Watch for school buses. Red flashing lights and an extended stop arm indicate the school bus is stopping to load or unload children. State law requires you to stop.
- Keep an eye out for children walking in the street, especially where there are no sidewalks.
- Be alert for children playing and gathering near bus stops and for those who may dart into the street without looking for traffic.
- When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch for children walking or biking to school.
- When driving in neighborhoods or school zones, watch for young people who may be in a hurry to get to or away from school and may not be thinking about getting there safely.
Tips for Students
- Always buckle up when riding in a car. Be sure to remove your backpack before getting in the vehicle. Never buckle your safety belt with your backpack on.
- Always ride in the back seat. It's the safest place for young people.
- Always wear a helmet and follow traffic safety rules when riding your bike.
- If you ride a school bus, learn and practice the safety rules for waiting at the bus stop, getting on and off the bus, and riding the bus.
- Never wait for the school bus in the roadway.
- If you walk to school, learn and practice the safety rules for pedestrians. It's extremely important for you to use sidewalk when available, look left-right-left when crossing the road, and always walk facing traffic.
- Always cross at cross walks; obey all traffic signs, traffic lights and crossing guard instructions.
- Teen drivers should avoid speeding and distractions while driving, such as texting, talking on cell phones, eating and adjusting the radio. Teens are also reminded never to overload their vehicle; everyone riding in a vehicle must use a safety belt.
- Be a good role model for your younger brothers, sisters and friends, and help them learn and follow vehicle safety rules.
Residents are encouraged to do your part to make this a safe school-year for our children.