Motorists will need to keep their lead-foot in check starting Monday, when children across Prince George's County return to school.
Many children walk to school with the help of parents or crossing guards, so drivers will have to be on the lookout for traffic slowing down in school zones across the county, not only to prevent injury to pedestrians but also to prevent from getting snapped in a speed camera's image.
According to the AAA Mid-Atlantic, the Prince George's County Police Department issued 349,233 tickets last school year in the county's school zones.
Each violation cost a motorist $40 and the county raised more than $5 million dollars in revenue from the tickets. The state raised around $13.9 million, the auto club reported.
“Drivers should be especially conscientious this year in Prince George’s County, not only because it is the right thing to do, but they will pay the price if they speed in a school zones,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs.
“It is imperative that area drivers be aware that our roads will be much more congested once school starts in the Washington Metro area. They must be more vigilant and aware of their surroundings since so many students walk or bike to school and others drive or are dropped off and picked up by family or friends.”
Nearly one-third of pedestrian fatalities involving children in the country occurred between 3 and 7 p.m., so AAA warns drivers to be especially aware in the afternoon.
AAA Mid-Atlantic offers a few tips to keep students safe:
- Slow down. Speed limits in school zones are reduced for a reason. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 25 mph is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed compared to a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling just 10 mph faster.
- Eliminate distractions. Children often cross the road unexpectedly and may emerge suddenly between parked cars. Research shows that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chances of crashing.
- Reverse responsibly. Every vehicle has blind spots. Check for children on the sidewalk, driveway and around your vehicle before slowly backing up. Teach your children to never play in, under or around vehicles – even those that are parked.
- Talk to your teen. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, and more than one in four fatal crashes involving teen drivers occur during the after-school hours of 3 to 7 p.m. Get evidence-based guidance and tips at TeenDriving.AAA.com.
- Come to a complete stop. Research shows that more than one third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods. Always come to a complete stop, checking carefully for children on sidewalks and in crosswalks before proceeding.
- Watch for bicycles. Children on bikes are often inexperienced, unsteady and unpredictable. Slow down and allow at least three feet of passing distance between your vehicle and the bicycle. If your child rides a bicycle to school, require that they wear a properly-fitted bicycle helmet on every ride. Find videos, expert advice and safety tips at ShareTheRoad.AAA.com.