Illinois’s fire marshal is telling drivers to slow down now that schools are back in session. State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis says parents can take proactive steps so children aren’t injured or killed by cars in residential areas and school zones. “This is something we should be doing every day,” Matkaitis said. “Watching our kids, making sure they’re not going to be playing in the street and we end up with a bad outcome.”
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Matkaitis says it’s important to emphasize these safety lessons as schools re-open, as more children will be on neighborhood streets. He’s hopeful that the new law prohibiting cell phone use while driving will cut down on all accidents, including those involving children. “The fact is many of the accidents we’re having nowadays are caused by cell phones, and all of us, I think are guilty at some point,” Maikaitis said.
Maikaitis says parents can keep their kids safe even if the children walk to school on their own. He advises telling kids to defer to cars and assume drivers will not slow down or stop, rather than risking getting hurt.