NEWBURYPORT — As students head back to school this week, City Marshal Mark Murray and the Newburyport Police Department would like to remind community members of several important safety tips.
The first day of school for Newburyport Public Schools is Thursday, Sept. 5. As a reminder, the speed limit in school zones is 20 MPH.
“With summer coming to a close and students returning to school, we want to remind drivers to be on alert as we transition back to regular commuting traffic,” Marshal Murray said. “School buses will be on the road at the end of the week and children will be biking, walking and driving throughout the city. Keep and eye out and give yourself extra time to reach your destination to best ensure everyone’s safety.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has several tips for motorists as the school year begins:
- Look for children walking or bicycling when backing out of a driveway or garage.
- Be vigilant and watch for children who may be walking or bicycling to school in neighborhoods with school zones.
- Watch out for children who may be crossing the street.
- Be mindful of children who may be standing in a group or playing near a bus stop.
- Remember: yellow flashing lights signify that a bus is slowing down to either pick up or drop off children. Prepare to stop your vehicle.
- Remember: red flashing lights and extended stop arms signify that a bus has stopped to pick up or drop off children. Drivers traveling in both directions are required to stop their vehicles and wait until the lights stop flashing, the extended stop arm is withdrawn and the bus continues driving.
The Newburyport Police Department reminds drivers to stay off of all electronic devices while driving, as even a moment of distraction can cause a deadly crash. Drivers are also reminded to keep the windows of their vehicle clean and clear.
The NHTSA also has several tips for children and parents at bus stops:
- Arrive at the bus stop five minutes early, and wait approximately 6 feet away from the curb.
- Do not allow children to run or play at a bus stop.
- Wait until the bus stops completely, the door opens and the driver says it is safe to board the bus before getting on.
- Use the handrails on the bus while boarding.
- Do not walk behind a school bus.
- If a child drops an item near a school bus, he or she should first tell the bus driver about the dropped item.
- If a child needs to cross the street to board the bus, he or she should make eye contact with the driver, use the sidewalk until crossing, and walk approximately 10 feet in front of the bus. Always use a crosswalk.
Anyone with questions about road safety is encouraged to contact the Newburyport Police Department at 978-462-4411.