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AAA Advocates School Zone Safety As Kids Head Back to Class

Adam Lederer

Many Pittsburgh area students will return to school this month, bringing long-dormant, flashing “school zone” signs back to life.

Studies show that obeying school zone speed limits can save lives. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 20 miles per hour is about two-thirds less likely to die than a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 30 miles per hour.

AAA East Central is asking drivers to be patient as kids and parents get used to new schedules and school buses return the roads.

“Sometimes when someone gets behind a bus, they might be running late and then they get a little frustrated, and sometimes may make bad judgment or an error in their driving,” said safety advisor Terri Rae Anthony. “Leave early, and if you really have to be somewhere in a specific amount of time, maybe go the route that the school buses aren’t on if you do know that.”

Anthony said it’s illegal to pass stopped school buses in most situations.

“The only time when the red lights are flashing and the stop sign is down that you can pass a bus is on a divided highway and you are on the opposite side of the bus,” she said.

She said it’s also important to fully stop at stop signs and limit distractions, because kids are unpredictable and may dart out into the street with little warning.

The hundreds of crossing guards trained by AAA East Central each year will help kids stay safe in intersections. The organization has either held or will hold trainings in Hopewell Township, Penn Hills, Shaler, Oakmont and Verona.