BOISE – Governor Brad Little has proclaimed Thursday, September 16 to be Idaho School Zone Safety Day, a reminder to the driving public to watch for kids on their way to and from school.  AAA, the Idaho Transportation Department, and various law enforcement agencies and school districts across the Gem State are working together to ask motorists to slow down and drive carefully.

According to the Transportation Research Board, about 100 children are killed walking to and from school each year, and about 25,000 are seriously injured.

“We thank the Governor and all of our traffic safety partners for committing time and resources to underscore this important message,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde.  “While the majority of drivers exercise a great deal of caution in school zones, a single slip-up can have tragic consequences.  We can do more to help protect our children and grandchildren.”

AAA’s “School’s Open, Drive Carefully” safety campaign is now in its 75th year.

Drivers are encouraged to strictly follow signs, flashing lights, and signals from crossing guards in school zones.  Never speed or drive distracted in a school zone or residential area, and never overtake a stopped bus with flashing lights – it’s both dangerous and illegal.

If possible, AAA recommends the “walking school bus,” a coordinated effort between parents to take turns walking large groups of kids to school together.  Parents can take turns ‘driving the bus,’ with an adult or two walking with the group each day.

“If you’re the kind of person that’s going to be in a rush to get to work on time, it would be better to find a route that avoids school zones altogether,” Conde said.  “Every year, a new crop of children experiences the ins and outs of going to school for the first time.  Please watch for kids darting between cars, and be extra careful as the daylight hours get shorter.”