Union County Sheriff's Office
Peter Corvelli Jr.
Sheriff

As summer vacations come to an end and students return to school throughout the county, Acting Union County Sheriff Joseph Cryan would like to remind residents to take extra care when driving as the roads become busier.

Drivers will again be sharing the streets with school buses and children walking and bicycling to and from school.

“Driving safely requires a person’s constant attention to the road and to everyone and everything outside of the car,” Acting Sheriff Cryan said. “A lack of attention or a distraction could be deadly.”

School buses will again be part of the morning commute and on the streets each afternoon. It is important to obey the law for the safety of children when buses are picking up or dropping off students.

School buses use yellow flashing lights to alert motorists that they are preparing to stop. Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign arm are signals to motorists that the bus is stopped and children are getting on or off the bus. Traffic in both directions is required to stop when the red lights are flashing on the bus.

Also, drivers should never pass a school bus. It is illegal and could have tragic consequences.

Children are unpredictable and often take risks, ignore hazards or fail to look both ways when crossing the street.

“Drivers need to be alert at all times. Don’t talk on a cell phone while driving and, more importantly, never text while behind the wheel,” the Acting Sheriff said. “Red lights are not a time to check emails or texts. A distracted driver can lead to accidents at any time, even coming out of a stop.”

Parents of teenagers who drive to school need to reinforce the rules of the road with the young drivers, especially about never texting while driving. They should set a good example with their own good driving habits. Teens learn to drive by watching their parents.

Texting while driving is not the only hazard when it comes to digital devices. Distracted walking can also be dangerous. Students should not text and walk, especially when crossing or walking in the street. Parents with children who walk to school need to remind their kids about the basics of pedestrian safety.

“If everyone, drivers and students, keep aware of their surroundings and pay attention, the new school year can be a safer one,” Acting Sheriff Cryan added.

For more back-to-school safety information, visit the National Safety Council website atwww.nsc.org/safety_home/SafetyObservances/Pages/BackToSchoolSafety.