ODOT asks Drivers to remember Back-to-School ABC - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

ODOT asks Drivers to remember Back-to-School ABC: Always Be Cautious

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COLUMBUS, OH (WOIO) - With a new statewide safety analysis showing an average of 10 crashes involving buses each school day, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is asking drivers to remember ABC - Always Be Cautious - during this back-to-school season.

With many school districts across the state resuming classes this week, school buses and parents taking their children to school are also returning to Ohio's roadways.
 
A recent analysis by ODOT's safety experts revealed 1,856 crashes involving school buses last year. With most schools in session 182 days, that averages roughly 10 crashes involving a bus each school day.

During the 2009-2010 school year, bus-related crashes led to 760 injuries and three fatalities.

There were also an equally alarming number of non-bus crashes in designated school zones, with 283 total crashes across the state. Those accidents - often involving cars running into each other or fixed objects - resulted in 103 injuries.

ODOT's safety analysis shows that driver inattention - including following too close, failure to control, and failure to yield - is the leading cause of these crashes. That's why ODOT will be emphasizing a simple back-to-school reminder of "ABC - Always Be Cautious" during the final weeks of August.

The basic back-to-school safety tips for drivers include:

1. Slow down and obey all traffic laws and speed limits.
2. Watch for the flashing lights - stop for school buses loading or unloading children.
3. Look for children walking or biking near schools, bus stops and in school parking lots.
4. Don't pass other vehicles in school zones as stopped vehicles may be allowing children to cross the road. 
5.  Avoid changing lanes in school zones and never make U-turns in school zones.
6.  Don't send or read text message on a cell phone in school zones - your focus needs to be on the road.

Just as school buses return to roadways this fall, so do teen drivers. Crashes among teen drivers in Ohio spike between August and January as younger, less-experienced drivers join in busy rush-hour traffic each morning and afternoon. In each of the past five years, October has seen the most accidents involving teen drivers.

For children who walk and bike to school, ODOT has invested more than $21 million in its Safe Routes to School program. The federal funding is being used in communities across the state to construct safer school crossing signals and sidewalks, provide new educational materials, add police enforcement in school zones, and create school travel plans to encourage more students to consider walking and biking.

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