In most parts of the country, August means back to school. This is a time of year to pay special attention to the roads. There’s more traffic and it is often unpredictable. Kids are walking, riding, crossing the street and in school buses and cars.

Did you know that since 1998, 1,564 people have died in school transportation-related crashes- an average of 142 fatalities per year. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, most people who lost their lives in those crashes (about 80 percent) were occupants of the vehicles involved. Non-occupants (pedestrians, bicyclists, etc.) accounted for 20 percent of the deaths. Since 1998, 149 school-age pedestrians have died in school transportation-related crashes. Over two-thirds (69 percent) were killed by school buses, 24 percent by other vehicles involved in the crashes.

With these numbers in mind, it is only fitting that we start the conversation about back to school safety with how to keep children and adults safe on the way to school and on the way back home. TSS, Inc. encourages everyone to take a minute and review these tips from the National Safety Council to help #keepeachothersafe

Walking to school

Review your family’s walking safety rules and practice walking to school with your child.

  • Walk on the sidewalk, if one is available. When on a street with no sidewalk, walk facing the traffic.
  • Before you cross the street, stop and look left, right and left again to see if cars are coming.
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing and always cross streets at crosswalks or intersections.
  • Stay alert and avoid distracted walking.

Riding a bicycle to school

Teach your child the rules of the road and practice riding the bike route to school with your child.

  • Ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, and in single file.
  • Come to a complete stop before crossing the street; walk bikes across the street.
  • Stay alert and avoid distracted riding.
  • Make sure your child always wears a properly fitted helmet and bright clothing.

Riding the bus to school

Teach your children school bus safety rules and practice with them.

  • Go to the bus stop with your child to teach them the proper way to get on and off the bus.
  • Teach your children to stand six feet (or 3 giant steps) away from the curb.
  • If your child must cross the street in front of the bus, teach him or her to walk on the side of the road until they are 10 feet ahead of the bus; your child and the bus driver should always be able to see each other.

Driving your child to school

Stay alert, put away any personal devices and avoid distracted driving.

  • Obey school zone speed limits and follow your school’s drop-off procedure.
  • Make eye contact with children who are crossing the street.