Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol and some top state officials have joined with AAA to support the annual "School's Open-Drive Carefully" campaign. For the last 68 years, AAA has sponsored the campaign to increase awareness of school children and school buses during the beginning of the school year. Motor-vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages five to fourteen years old.

"AAA will be placing colorful posters bearing the "School's Open" legend to local police departments and will display them at many busy intersections and school crossings during the month of September," said Ed Welsh, General Manager of AAA Central New York.

AAA Central New York

Welsh also emphasized the need to show extra caution when driving as schools re-open, since it is then that vacation-minded children are apt to be less careful. Motorists should be particularly alert for children darting out between parked cars on busy streets.

AAA offers these six ways to keep kids safe this school year:

1. SLOW DOWN. Speed limits in school zones are reduced for a reason. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 25 mph is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed compared to someone hit by a vehicle traveling just 10 mph faster.

2. ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS. Children often cross the road unexpectedly and may appear suddenly between two parked cars. Research shows that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chances of crashing.

3. REVERSE RESPONSIBILITY. Every vehicle has blind spots. Check for children on the sidewalk, driveway and around your vehicle before slowly backing up. Teach your children to never play in, under or around vehicles - even those that are parked.

4. TALK TO YOUR TEEN. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, and more than one in four fatal crashes involving teen drivers occur during the after-school hours of 3 to 7 p.m. Get evidence-based guidance and tips at:

5. COME TO A COMPLETE STOP. Research shows that more than one third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones and neighborhoods. Always come to a complete stop, checking carefully for children on sidewalks and in crosswalks before proceeding.

6. WATCH FOR BICYCLES. Children on bikes are often inexperienced, unsteady and unpredictable. Slow down and allow at least three feet of passing distance between your vehicle and the bicycle. If your child rides a bike to school, require that they wear a properly-fitted helmet on every ride.

To find videos, expert advice and safety tips visit AAA's website.