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School’s Open, Drive Carefully
AAA Offers 7 Lifesaving ‘Lessons’ before the First Bell
As children across Connecticut head back to school, AAA is providing a 'lesson plan' for drivers, parents and students to ensure everyone's safety through the transition and throughout the year.
“This is a particularly dangerous time as students distracted by phones and friends mix with drivers who are dealing with an increase in traffic and may be distracted themselves,” says Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA. “It is critical that everyone put their phones down, look up and look out for each other”.
Typically in the U.S., nearly one-third of all child pedestrian fatalities occur between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
AAA Offers 7 Lifesaving Lessons for Back to School Safety
- Eliminate distractions. Drivers AND pedestrians should limit distractions.The beginning of the school year is the perfect time to have a conversation with children about looking up and looking out for motorists when crossing the street. Adults can set an example by promising to put their phones away when behind the wheel and taking the pledge not to drive ‘intexticated’. Parents can demonstrate their commitment by signing the pledge not to drive ‘intexticated’ at www.aaa.com/dontdrivedistracted
- Brake for Buses. It is against the law to pass a school bus when red lights are flashing and the safety bar is extended. In Connecticut, motorists who pass a school bus face a fine of $465 for a first offense. Even when you are free to pass, proceed with caution.
- 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.
- Watch for bicycles. Children on bikes are often inexperienced, unsteady and unpredictable. Expect the unexpected. 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.
- Back up with caution. 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.
- 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.
- 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 more information and tips at TeenDriving.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.
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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than one million members in Connecticut. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.aaa.com.