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Most area schools are back in session so it is especially important for drivers to slow down and pay attention when children are present.

“A new school year means new routines for first time students, children starting new schools and parents learning new drop-off and pick-up zones, as well as older students who may be driving to school for the first time and inexperienced with traffic routes, school zones or congested parking lots,” Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson said.

Atlantic County officials remind drivers to watch your speed and keep a safe following distance. Scan sidewalks and parked cars for signs of movement. Be particularly alert at intersections. Practice “covering your brake” when called for.

If you’re traveling behind a bus, allow a greater following distance than you would behind a car. It will give you more time to stop once the yellow lights start flashing.

According to the National Safety Council, most children who lose their lives in bus-related incidents are 4-7 years old and they are walking. Children are most often hit by the bus or by a motorist passing a stopped bus that is loading or unloading, which is illegal in all 50 states.

Children riding bikes to and from school create special problems for drivers. The most common cause of collision is a driver turning left in front of a bicyclist. Be extra vigilant in school zones and residential neighborhoods and watch for bikes coming from driveways or behind parked cars.

“By taking extra precautions we can safely share the road and ensure the health and safety of our most valuable resource – our youth,” Levinson said.