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Reminders from AAA for drivers this school season

Posted at 2:56 PM, Sep 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-03 17:43:52-04

BUFFALO, N.Y (WKBW) — Students around Western New York are going to back to school in different ways this year, but AAA and law enforcement said one thing needs to stay the same: using extra caution when driving during this back-to-school season.

"More children will be walking and biking to school, while parents are going to be driving children due to the new COVID-19 protocols," said Tony Spada, AAA President & CEO.

Drivers need to be alert at all hours; children studying virtually could be outside at any time of day.

"Bus patterns are going to be different. Also, expect to see more teen drivers on the roads as they limit school bus capacity," said Spada.

So make sure to give yourself extra time, and be ready for bus traffic at any time.

The annual “School’s Open – Drive Carefully” campaign aims to reduce the number of school-related pedestrian injuries and fatalities.

Law enforcement remind drivers to never pass a stopped school bus with its lights flashing.

In 2018, about 128 tickets were issued in WNY for passing a school bus. In 2019, 106 tickets were issued.

So far this year, 28 tickets were issued.

"This is super important because for every one decrease, there's a possibility of one less child getting hit or struck, or killed," said Trooper James O'Callaghan with New York State Police.

Before students head back to school, a lot of people will be taking advantage of this holiday weekend, especially with low gas prices.

"Gas prices remain low. As of September third, the New York State average is $2.30. For perspective, a year ago it was $2.80," said April Engram, AAA Communications Specialist.

Traveling by car remains affordable and popular, and you can stay socially distant from others.

AAA reminds you to pack your mask and sanitizer with you, and get your car checked by a trusted mechanic before you travel.