Safety partners promoting “School’s Open, Drive Carefully” at Taft Elementary

BOISE – (August 27, 2018) – AAA, the Idaho Transportation Department and the Boise Police Department will team up for a media event to promote safe driving in school zones. The event will be held Tuesday, August 28 at Taft Elementary (3722 W Anderson St., Boise), at 8:15 A.M.

As part of a new approach to the 72-year-old school safety campaign, Taft students will receive supplies and swag with the “School’s Open, Drive Carefully” message (rulers, snapbands, pencils and more). Classes will also compete in a safety poster contest, with the winning team earning an ice cream party with Boise PD and a chance to meet a Boise Police dog.

“2016 – the most recent on record – was a bad year for Gem State pedestrians,” says Matthew Conde, public affairs director for AAA Idaho. “The number of pedestrian crash fatalities increased by 125 percent, and the number of crashes that resulted in serious pedestrian injuries went up 29 percent.  We’re working to address the growing concern about pedestrian safety in Idaho, with a special emphasis on school zones.”

From 2012-16, ITD reported 73 accidents and 46 injuries in school zones. Most crashes were caused by inattentive driving or following too closely, and involved rear-ending other vehicles or striking pedestrians.  As a group, teen drivers were involved in the most school-zone accidents.

Representatives from AAA, ITD, BPD, and Taft Elementary will be on hand to greet students and give interviews to the media. Members of the media will also have an opportunity to film the class safety posters.  Highway message boards and motorcycle patrols will serve as additional reminders that drivers need to watch for schoolchildren.

During the event, media will be able to discuss the following safety tips with stakeholders:


Safety tips for young pedestrians

Parents, please encourage your young students to:

  • Always use a crosswalk if one is available. Avoid walking between parked cars – drivers may not have enough time to react.
  • If there isn’t a sidewalk, walk on the left side of the street facing traffic.
  • Look all ways before crossing a street – look and listen for cars, other pedestrians, and bicyclists. Remove headphones, lower hoods, and put away cell phones and other distractions while crossing the street.
  • Watch for cars that are turning right or left when crossing.
  • Wear light or bright clothing if they’ll be walking in the dark.


Safety tips for motorists

  • For many children, watching for cars is a new concept. Be extra vigilant in school zones and residential neighborhoods.
  • Slow down. Children can dart in and out of loading zones and from nearby buses and houses.  Give yourself extra time to react.
  • Brake for the bus. Never drive around a stopped school bus. It’s dangerous and illegal.
  • Ditch the distractions. Drivers should avoid distracting behavior where young children may be present, including reading, texting, applying make-up, and eating.
  • Don’t rush. Give yourself enough time to safely travel through a school zone.  Consider alternate routes that avoid school zones altogether.


“We all hope for a day when this safety campaign will no longer be necessary,” Conde said.  “Until then, motorists and parents need to work together to protect our precious children.”