KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
August 12 kicks off the 2019-2020 school year, for the Albuquerque Public Schools, thus bringing a higher need of diligence to those who drive through the installation.
Kirtland Air Force Base is home to multiple schools on and around the installation and the start of the school year can bring safety concerns.
The base security forces and 377th Air Base Wing Safety office have a strong focus on, pedestrian safety, distracted kids and motorists in school zones during this time.
“School age kids can be distracted as they come back to school after the summer,” said Richard Peterson, 377th ABW Wing Safety occupational and health office. “Motorists also have to pay attention in base housing and in school zones, the areas where there will be a concentration of kids.”
According to U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Blake Jahnke, 377th Security Forces Squadron installation patrolman, the biggest issue comes with the thousands of daily commuters who may be in a rush to get to work on time or get home from work.
“I would strongly caution those drivers that they will not only make it to work late, but will also receive a citation,” said Jahnke. “We cannot allow a substitution for the safety of our children going to school.”
Jahnke also notes that the highest traffic areas are located near Sandia Base Elementary, on Paintbrush Road and Wyoming Boulevard, due to the Wyoming Gate receiving high volumes of traffic with commuters coming in-bound to work and out-bound, leaving at the end of the day.
“Just because there is a lot of traffic does not mean that drivers cannot be more cautious in the morning with students arriving and more aware of students leaving at the end of class,” continued Jahnke. “I feel that school safety should be in the minds of all drivers, with the school year suddenly approaching; because we should not could not allow a devastating accident to happen that could have easily been prevented.”
Peterson also encourage parents to ensure their children know the importance of knowing and following traffic safety rules.
According to the Albuquerque Public School website, these are a few safety tips students should know:
- Know and follow the school’s safety policies
- If you walk to school, walk with a friend or family member
- Always tell your parents where you plan to be before and after school
- Make sure that the emergency contact card at school is updated
- Always be aware of your surroundings
- Walk in groups and stay in well-lit areas