RAY BROOK - Opening day for North Country schools is quickly approaching, and area law enforcement officials are encouraging drivers to use caution.
This year's "School's Open - Drive Carefully" campaign launches this week, and state police are again supporting the New York State Automobile Association's annual bumper sticker campaign.
Major Richard C. Smith Jr. is New York State Police Troop "B" Commander. According to Smith, all marked patrol cars will sport a bumper sticker that reads "School's Open - Drive Carefully." Triple-A also sponsors the program, aimed at safeguarding elementary students as they return to class.
Smith says thousands of children across the state will be boarding buses and walking to and from school.
"Everyone who drives has a responsibility to be especially careful during this busy time, and the bumper stickers will help remind motorists to be alert for these youngsters," he said.
Children tend to be at greater risk during back-to-school periods because they're excited to see old friends - not looking out for cars and trucks.
Parents are urged to educate their children on looking both ways before crossing roadways, crossing only at corners, playing away from traffic, watch for turning cars and obeying crossing guards and police officers.
Smith also says that parents should "pre-walk" their children to and from school on a predetermined route.
"Establish a route," he said. "And make sure they know to stick to that route."
State Police also remind motorists that state law requires vehicles to stop when meeting or overtaking schools buses stopped with red flashing lights.