Can you believe it’s already time for back to school? I feel like we waited an eternity for summer and just like that it was gone! With back to school approaching, I would like to share a few reminders.

— Be aware of pedestrians. Although this is something all drivers should practice daily, there is certainly an emphasis when we are guaranteed to have more children walking to and from school. I would also encourage pedestrians (children and adults like) to utilize the crosswalks. Parents should speak with their children regarding the importance of using the crosswalks.

— Be aware of buses. Buses make frequent stops to pick up/drop off as well as when they are approaching railroad tracks. When the buses “stop sign” arm is extended, both lanes of traffic must come to a complete stop and stay stopped until the sign is moved. Be mindful of children who are entering and exiting the bus.

— Be mindful of your speed. School zones have a decreased speed limit. As covered in a previous column, East 27th Street from Broadway to Fifth Avenue has a permanently decreased speed of 20 mph. During the summer months, many vehicles have been found in violation and issued warnings or citations for speeding. During school hours, patrol efforts will be increased. Fines issued for speeding within a school zone are doubled. So let’s just take a look at what it could potentially cost you for speeding within that area:

If you are stopped for driving 35 mph within the 20 mph zone, the fine is $75 plus a $49 court cost. Since it’s a school zone, the fine would be $150 plus the $49 court cost, bringing the total to $199.

We all have places to be and it’s become a societal norm to constantly live in a state of hurry but it’s not worth it. Slow down. Do you have a habit of running late? Leave the house five minutes earlier. I promise it will be worth it in the long run. In this situation, your best case scenario is a $199 fine, but your worst case scenario is so much worse. Speeding or even just driving inattentively could cause an accident or even worse, cost a life. Slow down and stay alert.

As for parents with school-aged children, make sure you talk to them about walking on the sidewalk and utilizing the appropriate crosswalks.

Here’s to a safe and successful school year.

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