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Law enforcement reminds Delawareans to think safety first as schools open

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It’s back to school time, and police departments statewide are reminding families about safety as students return to school in-person full-time again.


 Try to walk or bike the route your child will take to school with them so they are familiar with the way to school from home.

Dover Police Sgt. Mark Hoffman has more suggestions.

"Make sure they're wearing the proper clothing, that they know the route that they should be taking when walking to school, they know the rules as far as crossing intersections and roadways and follow the crossing guard signal," said Hofman."Wear bright clothing so they're visible and that's for biking as well. If you're biking, wear a helmet and proper safety equipment. Make sure the bicycle is in good shape."

If you drive your child, never block crosswalks, don’t double park, don’t load or unload children across the street from the school, and carpool if possible to reduce the number of vehicles at school.

Drivers should never pass a school bus from behind and stop when their lights are flashing and the stop sign is extended.  Hoffman says failure to do so is costly.

"The fine is significant and there's also a license suspension and other penalties that can happen if you fail to stop for school buses," said Hofman. "It's illegal in all 50 states, but I can promise you that the insurance costs, the fine costs, and the license suspension is definitely not worth taking that risk." 

Drivers should also make sure to always follow directions from crossing guards or school patrol officers.

And teen drivers are reminded to turn off their cell phone, and don’t text if it is on. They should also remember to turn on headlights, obey the speed limit, and minimize distractions, as well as practice defensive driving.

Students riding the bus are reminded to get to their stop in plenty of time, know their bus driver and bus number, and remain seated while the bus is moving.

They should also learn to avoid standing in the danger zone - the 10-foot area on all sides of the bus where the driver cannot see people.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.