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Lake County Community Traffic Safety Team issues back-to-school safety tips

RELEASE DATE: August 21, 2009

EUSTIS — With students going back to school Monday, the Lake County Community Traffic Safety Team is offering motorists, parents and students a collection of safety tips from the Florida Department of Transportation to help make this school year as safe as possible.

Traffic safety
• With increased traffic, allow extra time to reach a destination and watch for cars, pedestrians, bicyclists, skateboarders and school buses.
• Know and obey the law with regard to stopping for school buses loading and unloading children.
• Be aware of the speed limit and your speed, especially in school zones and around schools.
• Obey all crossing guard directions.

Children in a car:
• All passengers must wear a seat belt and/or an age- and size-appropriate car safety seat or booster seat. Florida’s safety belt law is now primary and motorists and passengers can and will be stopped and ticketed for not wearing a safety belt. Adult drivers are responsible for their passengers under 18 years of age when it comes to proper safety belt and car seat use.
• Remember that many crashes occur while novice teen drivers are going to and from school. As a parent: require seat belt use by the driver and all passengers; limit the number of teen passengers; do not allow eating, drinking, cell phone conversations or texting to prevent driver distraction; limit nighttime driving; and limit driving in inclement weather.

Children on a bike:
• Always wear a bicycle helmet, no matter how short or long the ride. The law requires children under the age of 16 to wear a helmet.
• Ride on the right; in the same direction as auto traffic, (younger children should use sidewalks).
• Use appropriate hand signals.
• Obey traffic lights and stop signs.
• Wear bright color clothing to increase visibility.
• Know the “rules of the road.”

Children walking to school:
• Make sure a child's walk to school is a safe route, hopefully with well-trained adult crossing guards at every intersection.
• Be realistic about a child's pedestrian skills. Because small children are impulsive and less cautious around traffic, carefully consider whether a child is ready to walk to school without adult supervision.
• If a child is young or is walking to a new school, walk with them the first week to make sure he or she knows the route and can do it safely.
• Teach children to be aware of their surroundings.
• Bright-colored clothing will make a child more visible to drivers.

For more information about the Lake County CTST, call Noble Olasimbo at (352) 483-9092 or Cheryl Sutherland at (352) 483-9048.

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Office: 352-343-9603; Cell: 352-455-0445
klafollette@lakecountyfl.gov

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