LANSING – As some students across Michigan return to in-person learning, the Insurance Alliance of Michigan is urging drivers slow down and pay attention in School Zones.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our daily routines in a number of ways, and that includes dropping off and picking up children from school,” said Erin McDonough, executive director of the Insurance Alliance of Michigan. “We urge drivers to slow down in School Zones and watch for children at crosswalks, riding bicycles or a backup of cars at school entrances.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 130 people die each year in school transportation-related crashes. These accidents are most likely to happen between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., when children are on their way to school, and 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., when children are coming home.

“Just as our students are getting back into the school routine, so should drivers who may have gotten out of the habit of watching for kids crossing the street or getting on and off a school bus,” McDonough said. “Children don’t always use crosswalks to cross the street, and instead walk between parked cars or stopped traffic, which is why it’s critically important to watch for children as they travel to and from school.”

There is no uniform start date for Michigan schools, and because of the COVID-19 pandemic many schools are beginning the school year offering virtual learning or a blend of online and in-classroom learning.