SANTA FE — Thousands of New Mexico children are returning to school. The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) reminds drivers to be extra cautious as school zones become active.
Drivers must slow down, pay attention, and follow traffic laws in school zones. Parents and children walking or riding to school should be alert at all times, and only cross the street at intersections and designated crosswalks.
“The responsibility is shared and lies with drivers, children, parents, and care givers. Whether children walk, ride their bicycle, use a scooter, or take the bus to school, it is extremely important they take proper safety precautions,” Transportation Secretary Ricky Serna said. “At the same time, drivers must be vigilant and look for children. At some point during the day, children will be on or near a road, and keeping them safe should always be top-of-mind.”
Following these simple tips can help New Mexico children reach school safely and help drivers avoid costly fines and tickets.
Driver Safety Reminders:
- Slow down! Speed limits in school zones are not a suggestion;
- Respect the crossing guard. Always stop for crossing guards holding a stop sign;
- Use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians, no matter who has the right of way;
- Be aware children can be unpredictable. Watch for children darting out from between parked cars;
- Yield to pedestrians walking on a crosswalk;
- Do NOT stop on a marked crosswalk or impede a pedestrian’s pathway at a marked intersection; and
- Drivers must stop behind a school bus with flashing lights. Never pass a stopped school bus. The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children entering or exiting the bus.
Pedestrian Safety Reminders:
- Look both ways before crossing;
- Do not expect a driver to yield to you if you are crossing on an unmarked pathway;
- Wear bright colored or reflective clothing if walking at night;
- Only walk on designated sidewalks or pathways; and
- Never jump into traffic or attempt to walk on the road.