2007-08-31 / Community

62nd Annual 'School's Open-Drive Carefully'Campaign Mayor Joins AAA In Support Of Program

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the American Automobile Association (AAA) are gearing up for another "School's Open- Drive Carefully" program, which helps safeguard young children as they return to school this September.

For 62 years, elected officials and other public authorities have joined with AAA in this important public awareness campaign. Recognized for saving lives and preventing injuries, the campaign alerts motorists to be extra careful as students return to school.

"The safety and education of our city's children is among my administration's top priorities," said Bloomberg. "AAA New York's campaign offers a like-minded aspect of this initiative by reminding drivers of the vulnerability of child pedestrians, and by ensuring that these drivers take extra precautions during the school year."

Car crashes continue as one of the leading causes of death and injury for school-age children. The "School's Open- Drive Carefully" campaign is conducted nationally to help reduce this tragic toll. AAANew York will distribute nearly 5,000 posters, emblazoned with the "School's Open" legend, to police and other public authorities for use at busy intersections and school crossings.

The club is also distributing 19,000 "School's Open" bumper stickers for display on trucks, buses, official vehicles, school buses and passenger cars.

To keep children safe, the organization offers the following tips for drivers: • Look for clues, such as AAA School

Safety Patrol members, crossing guards, bicycles and playgrounds,

which indicate that children could

dart into the road; • Scan between parked cars and other

objects for signs that children could

be in the area; • Practice extra caution in adverse

weather conditions; • Always stop for school buses that

are loading or unloading students.

"Motorists need to drive 'by the book' in school zones when school is in session," says Mark Kulewicz, director of Traffic Safety for AAA New York. "Not following the letter of the law, such as rolling stops at stop signs, could lead to a tragedy."

As part of the campaign, AAA New York is also offering a tip sheet for parents to review with their children for choosing the safest route to school, along with important safety rules. It is available in Spanish and English at www.aaa.com/safety.

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