Motorists urged to be ready for school children
Drivers are being reminded that school children across the region will begin a brand new school year next week.
AAA of Western and Central New York was joined by local law enforcement in kicking off the annual "School's Open -- Drive Carefully" campaign at the AAA headquarters in Amherst Thursday.
AAA President and CEO Tony Spada said drivers need to take extra care and watch for children heading to and home from school.
"Why do need to remind everyone to drive carefully? Because children don't always pay attention," said Spada.
Erie County Sheriff Deputy Chief Scott Josyln encourages drivers to expect the unexpected when it comes to children.
"The streets are going to be filled with buses, kids walking on the side of the road, riding skateboards and ridding bickers. They rely on us, as adults, to act responsible to obey the law to ensure their safety so they can get to and from school safely," said Chief Josyln.
Motorists are also reminded that it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus with warning lights. Over the last decade, 25 percent of child pedestrian fatalities occurred after school.
"Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death of school age children five to 14-years old," said Captain Steven Graap from the New York State Police.
Transportation leaders from two school districts also appeared at the kick-off.
"I ask you look and be careful watching for children walking to and from school and to and from the school bus stop," said Jack Burns Transportation Supervisor, Grand Island Central and Ken-Ton School District.
Officials say more than one-third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones and neighborhoods.