Sharpen those pencils and put on your new sneakers—it's back to school time! As children walk, bike and ride yellow buses to school, AAA School Safety Patrollers are on duty at nearly 800 elementary schools around Washington. These student volunteers help their peers safely cross streets and roads, by directing children, not traffic, protecting pedestrians and cyclists. The AAA School Safety Patrollers program, launched 99 years ago, is credited with saving hundreds of lives, including seven here in Washington.
Besides and listening to the AAA School Safety Patrollers, talk to your children to:
- Use sidewalks and crosswalks whenever possible.
- If there are no sidewalks, walk against the traffic so you can see what's coming toward you.
- Be visible and wear light or bright colors.
- Pay attention. Put down your phone and take off your headphones.
- Never assume cars will stop. Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
In addition to looking out for AAA School Safety Patrollers, drivers around schools should:
- Go slow. The speed limit is 20 mph in school zones.
- At a sign or signal, be sure to stop completely.
- Know the driving laws around school buses.
- Watch out for bicycles with new, unpredictable or wobbly riders.
- Drive distraction-free. Don't drive intexticated.
- Talk to your teen about safe driving. One in four crashes involving teen drivers occurs after school, between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
The patrol also provides students with an early opportunity to become leaders at their schools. Each year, AAA Washington names the state's top 10 patrollers to its Hall of Fame for going above and beyond the call of duty.
Want to start a School Safety Patrol program?
Ask your school's principal to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.