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The road to safety: Buckle up, pay attention in school zones

Students paint “buckle up” with a stencil Aug. 30 at Sunnyside Elementary as a safety reminder for the start of the new school year. Participating students were: Arianna Holzer, Annika Wardle, Emily Weigand, Abby Bauer, Hunter Bauer, Nick Babcock, Kallie Babcock, Izzy Harding, Audrey Lahammer, Lil Hartman, Willie Meacham, Jacob Meacham, Helen Nelson, Soren Toegel, Kiera Lovett, Grace O’Brien and Cecelia De Jong. Photo by Justin Key

School days bring congestion: Yellow school buses are picking up students, children on bicycles are hurrying to get to school before the bell rings, and rushed parents are trying to drop their kids off before work.

It's never more important for drivers to slow down and pay attention than when kids are present — especially before and after school.

In preparation for the start of a new school year the Red Wing Swim Club, with support from Red Wing Public School District, painted "Buckle Up" at entrances and exits of parking lots at Twin Bluff Middle School, Burnside Elementary School, Sunnyside Elementary School and Red Wing High School. The Red Wing Swim Club wanted to bring awareness to traffic safety by hosting a fun event where many helped make their community a safer place.

Painting Buckle Up is a great reminder for students, parents and school staff.

Buckle up

A record percentage of front seat occupants in Minnesota are buckling up — 93 percent — yet about 40 percent of all motorists killed in crashes aren't belted, translating into an average of 105 deaths and more than 200 serious injuries each year. In 2015, 91 unbelted motorists died on Minnesota roads and 87 percent of unbelted deaths occurred in greater Minnesota.

Wearing your seat belt will keep you from:

• Crashing into the windshield

• Slamming into and injuring other passengers

• Being ejected from the vehicle

Drive alert

"Back to school" means more pedestrians. Drive alert, scan the road for pedestrians and be prepared to stop for those crossing. When walking, cross at marked crosswalks and intersections and continue to look both ways while crossing — because distracted drivers aren't looking for you.

A huge thank you to the Minnesota Department of Transportation for having a great Goodhue County Toward Zero Deaths Program, Justin Key and Goodhue County Health and Human Services for the planning and organizing, the Red Wing Elks Lodge 845 for donating the paint, and Red Wing Engineering for help with placement.

Please, remember to buckle up!

The mission of Goodhue County Health and Human Services is to "Promote, Protect and Strengthen the Health of Individuals, Families, and Communities." The department has three service divisions: Economic Assistance, Public Health, and Social Services.

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