Curb Back-to-School Tragedies with AAA’s TipsPublished 2:40am Tuesday, August 20, 2013
One-Third of Child Pedestrian Fatalities Occur During After-School Hours
TAMPA, Fla. (August 19, 2013) – As summer draws to a close and the classroom bell rings in the new school year, over 55 million children across the United States will head back to school. With 13 percent of those school children typically walking or biking to school, AAA warns drivers to be especially vigilant for pedestrians during before- and after-school hours. The afternoon hours are particularly dangerous for walking children. Over the last decade, more than one-fourth of child pedestrian fatalities occurred between 3 and 7 p.m.
“More than 1,300 children lost their lives during these after-school hours between 2000 and 2011,” cautioned John Pecchio, manager, AAA Traffic Safety, “and although we’ve seen a steady decrease in the number of tragedies each year, it’s important to remember that one death is one too many.”
AAA offers six ways to keep kids safe this school year:
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 a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling just 10 mph faster.
Eliminate distractions. Children often cross the road unexpectedly and may emerge suddenly between two parked cars. Research shows that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chances of crashing.
Reverse responsibly. 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.
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 TeenDriving.AAA.com.
Come to a complete stop. Research shows that more than one third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods. Always come to a complete stop, checking carefully for children on sidewalks and in crosswalks before proceeding.
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 bicycle to school, require that they wear a properly-fitted bicycle helmet on every ride. Find videos, expert advice and safety tips at ShareTheRoad.AAA.com.
AAA’s School’s Open – Drive Carefully awareness campaign was launched in 1946 in an effort to prevent school-related child pedestrian traffic crashes—helping kids to live fulfilling, injury-free lives.
In addition to the School’s Open – Drive Carefully campaign, AAA has teamed up with Richard Scarry’s Busytown Mysteries to help keep children safe. Download coloring pages, play games and watch car seat safety videos at SafeSeats4Kids.AAA.com
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to approximately 8.8 million members across 11 states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois, Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with nearly 53 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.