OTS, Caltrans Highlight National Traffic Safety Month with Reminders to Go Safely for Back-to-School

ELK GROVE, Calif. — August is recognized as National Traffic Safety Month and marks the start of back-to-school season, a critical time to raise awareness and encourage safe driving practices to protect parents, guardians and children. The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) and Caltrans urge all Californians to remain vigilant and practice driving responsibly on the roads to protect lives and foster safer communities.

As families gear up to return to school, the surge in traffic is expected to affect more than just commute times, particularly for Black communities. According to a recent study published by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, on a national level, Black people face a passenger vehicle fatality rate 73% higher than their white counterparts. This disparity becomes even more evident as Black individuals experience a pedestrian death rate of 118% higher than white individuals, as well as a 348% higher cycling fatality rate, resulting in the highest overall traffic fatality rate per mile traveled. Here in California, Black pedestrians experience a 65% higher fatality rate compared to their white counterparts.

As students head back to the classroom, parents and residents are reminded to slow down, follow the speed limit and be extra careful driving through school zones. To keep communities safer, OTS and Caltrans offer the following tips to stay safe around schools:

• Slow down and follow the speed limit.

• Adhere to school policies and procedures for dropping off and picking up students.

• Stop for school buses. Watch for children rushing to catch the bus or exiting.

• Whenever possible, avoid blocking the crosswalk while waiting to make a right-hand turn.

• For parents with children walking or biking to school, teach them safe walking and riding behaviors, such as looking both ways before crossing the street, using sidewalks when available, and crossing at marked crosswalks with stop signs or signals.

If you are behind a school bus with a stop sign and flashing red lights, drivers need to stop so students can safely get on and off the bus. Drivers must remain stopped while the red lights are on. Drivers in both directions must stop on any two-lane road without a median or a center turn lane. 

OTS and Caltrans are committed to creating a safer transportation environment for everyone. As part of this effort, they encourage all Californians to be proactive in promoting road safety and to share these tips with family, friends, and neighbors.

Let us all embrace the spirit of National Traffic Safety Month and back-to-school preparations by prioritizing safety on our roads. To learn more about the Go Safely Movement and share your thoughts on traffic safety concerns, visit gosafelyca.org/thegosafelymovement, and follow Go Safely on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @OTS_CA, @GoSafelyCA, and @CaltransHQ

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