BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Whether they walk, bike, or ride a bus, thousands of kids will soon be headed back to school.
In just two weeks, class will be in session for nearly 900,000 public school students across Maryland, and for many drivers, that could mean a longer commute to work and more kids crossing the street on their way to school.
Summer vacation is just about over for kids and for drivers, who have a lot more to watch out for once school season rolls around.
Some Maryland students are doing their part to make the streets a safer place for kids heading to and from school.
“Our group is to make sure that kids stay safe when they’re leaving and going to school,” one student said.
AAA student safety patrollers are helping send a message to drivers with just two weeks left before classes start.
“While we focus on getting new school supplies and backpacks and shoes, we also need to be talking about school safety and highway safety,” said Greg Slater, with the Maryland Department of Transportation.
Last year, more than 3,400 people in Maryland were hit by vehicles.
More than 500 of them were school-aged kids.
This campaign is urging drivers to slow down near schools and crosswalks, and teaching students to stay alert as they walk to class.
Drivers are also being reminded to look out for the flashing bus lights.
Police will be paying special attention to those who don’t stop for buses, and violators could face up to a $500 fine.
According to law, all lanes, unless there’s a physical barrier, must stop for students.
“We really want to get drivers back into the habit,” said Baltimore County Public Schools Transportation Director David McCrae. “The habit’s not been there for a few months. We’ve all been on vacation, right?”
But summer vacation is all but over.
Looking up, looking out, and looking forward to a new school year.
“We want our children to be safe. And whatever you’re running late for, guess what? It can wait,” said Ragina Averella, with AAA Mid-Atlantic.
Being hit by a car is the second leading cause of death for kids between the ages of five and 14.
Officials are hoping this year, Maryland won’t be part of that statistic.
With just a few exceptions, Maryland public schools begin September 5.