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Look Up, Look Out

Kids and school buses are on the move

      More than 83,000 students — the most ever — are now traveling to schools across Anne Arundel County every week. Calvert County’s schoolkids number 16,000. That’s a lot of children and teens walking to bus stops, car pools or directly to school in the early morning and afternoon hours.

     Back to school time is time to remember to Look Up, Look Out, and be aware of kids walking during school arrival and dismissal times.

     Seven to 8am and 3 to 4pm are dangerous times for school-age pedestrians, according to the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration. Last year in Maryland, 257 school-age children were injured while walking during these times.

     Safety depends on pedestrians, drivers and bicyclists walking, driving and riding smart. The Pedestrian Safety Campaign urges parents and children to review the rules of the road, especially for walking to school, biking and waiting for the school bus.

      Remind children to cross the street at corners and to seek marked crosswalks. That’s where drivers expect to see walkers. Also, watch for turning vehicles; look left, right and left again before crossing the street. Watch for vehicles backing out of parking spaces and driveways.

     Drivers should be doubly cautious during the morning and afternoon hours on school days. Never drive distracted under any circumstance. Never pass a school bus that has flashing red lights and extended stop arms. Allow three feet when passing bicyclists. Stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, obey posted speed limits. In many jurisdictions, marked school zone speeds are enforced and heavily fined all year long.

      More than 500 children ages 15 and under were involved in pedestrian crashes last year in Maryland. 

     “There is no contest between a child and a vehicle,” says Maryland highway administrator Gregory Slater. “Whether driving or walking, let’s all Look Up and Look Out for each other.”