John Horvath, Police Chief
168 Main St.
Rockport, MA 01834
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Contact: Jessica Sacco
Email: [email protected]
ROCKPORT — With a new school year now underway, Chief John Horvath and the Rockport Police Department would like to remind community members about several important safety tips and procedures.
Students in the Rockport Public Schools returned to class on Wednesday, Sept. 2.
“Transitioning back to school is an exciting and busy time for families,” Chief Horvath said. “We want to remind parents and guardians to continue to practice these safety tips to keep their children safe while returning to the daily routine of the school year.”
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) reports that approximately 400,000 students in the state are transported to school by buses every year. While school bus travel is generally very safe, the majority of related injuries occur when boarding or exiting a bus because of passing traffic or due to walking in one of the bus driver’s blind spots. Children ages 4 to 7 are at the highest risk of injury.
Chief Horvath recommends parents follow safety procedures outlined by DPH to prevent accidents this school season:
- Educate children on safe bus riding and walking behaviors when getting on and off the bus.
- Teach young children to take five giant steps (10 feet) in front of the bus and to wait for the driver’s signal before crossing.
- Develop appropriate bus pick-up/drop-off policies.
- Closely supervise children under age 10 who must cross the street after exiting the bus.
“Our primary concern is for the safety of our residents,” Chief Horvath said. “We are reminding drivers to be extra alert behind the wheel and watch out for children as they enter and exit the bus as well as navigate the crosswalks.”
Parents who drive their children to school are asked to please obey the traffic laws in the neighborhoods with schools. Chief Horvath would also like to remind drivers to allow extra time to get to work in the morning due to slower speed limits in school zones and school buses, which are now out on the roads making several stops.
The fine for illegally passing a school bus is a maximum of $200. Repeat offenders may have their licenses suspended.
If walking to school, or when exiting the bus, parents and guardians should educate students about safely crossing the street. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health reports that pedestrian injuries are the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among school-aged children 5 to 18 years old.
Most injuries to children in kindergarten through third grade occur when they run into the street mid-block, while older students are most often hurt at intersections. To prevent potential tragedies, children should
- Be aware of pedestrian hazards and how to avoid them
- Know traffic signs and signals, and safe walking zones
- Wait for the “walk” signal at a crosswalk, or for a crossing guard to signal the OK to proceed into the street
Additionally, before sending your child off to school in the morning, Rockport Police recommend checking backpacks to make sure they are a tolerable weight. The American Chiropractic Association advises that backpacks should weigh no more than 10 percent of a student’s body weight, as heavy pressure can negatively affect the skeletal and muscular development in children.