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Aug
8
2016
Yuma Police Department reminds the public of back to school safety tips

YUMA, Ariz. - The City of Yuma Police Department reminds all members of the public that designated school zones are in place this week. The posted speed limit in a school zone is 15 miles per hour. Drivers may not proceed through a school zone crosswalk until all pedestrians have completely cleared the crosswalk. Drivers are encouraged to adjust their drive times due to school zones and increased traffic near schools.

Drivers should be aware of students riding bicycles and walking to school. Parents are encouraged to discuss pedestrian safety with their children and to encourage them to use designated school zones when crossing the street.

Students riding bicycles to commute are reminded to wear helmets in accordance to the City ordinance. Parents should remind their teen drivers to leave for school early, in order to not rush to school.

In addition to the extra patrol provided by YPD's  traffic unit in school zones, School Resource Officers are also staffed at middle and high schools and Neighborhood School Resource Officers assigned to elementary schools.

Below are some safety tips for the public, varying by which way individuals choose to commute:

Tips for families with students walking to/from school:

• Ensure your child leaves early enough to get to school 10 minutes prior to the start of school.
• Use the same route to get to/from school every day, and avoid taking shortcuts.
• Remind children to go straight home after school.
• Students should use public sidewalks and streets when walking to school.
• Choose the safest route between home and school and practice walking it with children until they can demonstrate traffic safety awareness.
• Walk to school with other students (strength in numbers)
• Teach children to recognize and obey traffic signals and pavement markings.
• Cross at designated crosswalks, street corners and traffic controlled intersections.
• Always look both ways before crossing the street and never enter streets from behind shrubbery or between parked cars.
• Please walk, and do not run, across intersections. A flashing “walk” signal or the crossing guard in the street does not mean it’s safe to cross, double check the intersection is clear.
• Avoid talking to strangers and get distance between themselves and anyone who tries to approach or make contact with them. 
• Never get into a vehicle with a person even if they know them without parent permission. If a stranger approaches, tell a trusted adult such as a parent or teacher.

Students and families are reminded to NOT do the following:

• Allow your child to be at school any earlier than 15 minutes prior to the start of school as crossing guards, teachers, or aids may not be out at the school to monitor your child.
• Go to friend’s house without permission. 
• Walk to school using canals, alleys and cutting through yards or open fields. 
• Walk alone as they will be an easier target for harassment, bullying, or stranger approach. 
• Run into to cross the street or intersection or cross in the middle of the block especially in heavy traffic areas. Never let children under age 10 cross the street alone.
• Talk to stranger or get within reach of that person. That includes taking a ride from a stranger or someone they know without parent’s permission.

Tips for students/families riding bicycles to commute:

Bicycles are associated with more childhood injuries than any other consumer product except the car. To make sure children are safe when riding bicycles to school:

• Check with your school principal to make sure bicycles are allowed. Some schools do not allow students to ride bicycles until a specific grade.
• Wear a helmet! City ordinance requires it, and failure to wear one could result in a traffic citation. More importantly, helmets can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent. 
• Obey rules of the road; the rules are the same for all vehicles, including bicycles.
• Stay on the right-hand side of the road and ride in the same direction as traffic.
• Know and use appropriate hand signals.
• Choose the safest route between home and school and practice it with children until they can demonstrate traffic safety awareness.

Tips for students riding the school bus:
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 five 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 at all times.
• 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 10 feet in front of the bus.

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Tips for students/families driving to school:
Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths among children age 14 and under. To reduce the risk of injury:

• Always use child safety seats and safety belts correctly when driving or riding in a car.
• Arrive early, especially the first few weeks of school, and use the school’s designated student dropoff and pickup zone.
• Do not double park or make U-turns in front of the school. Police officers are issuing citations for traffic violations and there is no warning or grace period.
• Children should enter and leave the car on its curbside.
• Pick your child up on time so they aren’t left waiting near or out front of the school unattended.

If you have any questions about school safety or other concerns please contact the Yuma Police Department at 373-4700. Information Released By: Sergeant Lori Franklin.