With many students heading back to class, drivers should be extra careful

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School routes are everywhere -- Drive Like It!

Sept. 1, 2021

For more information, contact Katherine Benenati, 503-871-0388

SALEM -- Many of us have gotten accustomed to children learning remotely, but slowing down and looking for children wherever you’re driving is critical for safety as many schools return to in-person learning. While school zones and areas where kids may be exiting public transit or school buses are important settings, school routes are everywhere, so driving cautiously in neighborhoods or places outside of school zones is also important.

To help remind people of these safe driving behaviors, ODOT has partnered with Metro and the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School Program to launch a statewide campaign called “Drive Like It.” The key messages, which people may see on lawn signs, Trimet buses, and social media, are intended to keep us all safer on the road.

Parents and children are also adjusting to in-person learning environments. As part of this transition, the campaign encourages active and multimodal transit methods such as walking, biking, and public transit. These methods improve children’s physical activity, help them integrate with their community, and reduce carbon emissions and may reduce congestion at or around schools which can increase safety for all road users.

“We can all take steps to make sure children get to and from school safely whether they’re taking the bus, being dropped off by their parents, carpooling, walking, bicycling or rolling,” said ODOT State Routes to School Program Manager Heidi Manlove. “People driving should exercise caution and avoid distractions in neighborhoods and in school zones. That means focus on the task at hand not the radio, your phone or the conversation in the back seat.

“Remember to watch for children,” Manlove added. “Families may be walking, bicycling on the street or crossing at intersections or crosswalks near schools, in neighborhoods and by bus stops. Children may dart into the street to catch a bus without checking for traffic. And children aren’t always the best at gauging distance and speed or knowing when it’s safe to cross.”

While driving, people should also take care backing up, obey traffic rules – especially at school drop off and pick up times -- and yield to pedestrians at intersections and watch for school buses.

Check out this video for more information on back to school safety.

Anyone interested in  viewing or posting the campaign digital material can access it online.

This campaign builds on prior work from Metro and PBOT last spring called “Kids are Everywhere. Drive Like It.”

Drive Like It