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AAA reminds drivers to be back-to-school safe

AAA reminds drivers to be back-to-school safe

It’s back-to-school time across central New York, and AAA is launching its annual “School’s Open- Drive Carefully” campaign to keep students and drivers safe.

State Sen. Tim Kennedy said as kids readjust to being back in the classroom full time, drivers need to readjust, too. As chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, he said things on the road will look a lot different than last back-to-school season.

"It's critically important for drivers to be alert and aware of so many different things, but that especially highlights these days of the increased foot traffic around our schools," said Kennedy.

Tony Spada from AAA said distracted driving is at an all-time high. He has some important reminders for drivers.

“First, before you move the vehicle, check your mirrors and your back up cameras,” said Spada. “Second, slow down. Just drive at a reasonable pace. Third, don’t drive distracted. Put your cell phones away.”

He also said drivers should be aware that because of school bus shortages, there may be more inexperienced drivers on the road than usual.

"Expect to see more teen drivers on the roads as school bus capacity is limited,” said Spada. “Many of these young drivers are driving to school for the very first time, so be patient."

New York State Police Trooper Jim O’Callaghan said it’s critically important to never pass a school bus with flashing lights. For the parents of the young children riding inside those busses, the results could be disastrous.

"Can you imagine getting the phone call, the news that it was a close call, or they got injured or they got killed from somebody that just passed a school bus while their child was being dropped off?" said O’Callaghan.

O’Callaghan said offenders face a five-point ticket and a fine of up to $1,000.

Jessica Cain is a freelance reporter for WRVO, covering issues around central New York. Most recently, Jessica was a package producer at Fox News in New York City, where she worked on major news events, including the 2016 presidential conventions and election. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and anchor for multiple media outlets in central and northern New York. A Camillus native, Jessica enjoys exploring the outdoors with her daughters, going to the theater, playing the piano, and reading.