To the Editor:

September is the deadliest month for pedestrians under the age of 18. Forty percent of crashes involving youngsters occur between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. when children make their way home from school and after-school activities.

We are reminding drivers to practice safe driving habits around schools, school buses and students on foot.

IIA suggests drivers observe the following back-to-school traffic safety rules:

• Never pass a stopped school bus unless you are on the other side of a divided highway.

• Leave at least 10 feet between your car and a school bus stopped ahead of you. Watch for children in the roadway before continuing your trip.

• Follow school zone speed limits.

• Be alert for crossing guards and children who may be distracted or crossing where there is no crosswalk.

• Never block a crosswalk while stopped at a red light or waiting to turn.

• Respect school rules when dropping off or picking up students. Don’t double-park. Drop off children on the same side of the street as the school building.

• Watch for children riding bicycles to and from school. Beware when approaching an intersection, preparing to back up and opening your car door.

• Stay off the phone and avoid other distractions behind the wheel, especially in a school zone.

• Teach your school-age children or grandchildren to cross only at crosswalks, obey crossing guards and remain alert — with headphones off and electronic devices put away — while walking or bicycling in high-traffic areas.

Kevin J. Martin

Executive Director

Illinois Insurance Association

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