CINCINNATI, Oh. (January 6, 2019) –As thousands of students prepare to return to the classroom following winter break, AAA is sending timely traffic safety reminders to motorists in an effort to reduce child pedestrian fatalities and injuries.
“AAA is urging area motorists to get back into the habit of slowing down and watching for children in school zones and in neighborhoods who are walking, biking, or taking the bus to school,” said Jenifer Moore, AAA spokeswoman.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic (AAFTS) Safety, a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at a reduced school zone speed of 25 mph is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed compared to a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling just 10 mph faster.
In addition, new data from the AAAFTS indicates that hit-and-run crashes are on the rise with more than one occurring every minute on U.S. roads. The report found that most victims of fatal hit-and-runs crashes are pedestrians.
Afternoons present additional risks because children are often distracted by thoughts of playtime and other activities on their journey home. Over the last decade nearly one in four child pedestrian fatalities occurred between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Here are several tips from AAA for motorists to help keep kids safe:
- 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.
- 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.
- Eliminate distractions. Research shows that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chance of crashing. And children can be quick, crossing the road unexpectedly or emerging suddenly between two parked cars. Reduce risk by not using your cell phone or eating while driving, for example.
- Reverse responsibility. Every vehicle has blind spots. Check for children on the sidewalk, in the driveway and around your vehicle before slowly backing up. Teach your children to never play in, under or around vehicles.
- 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 a bicyclist. If your child rides a bicycle to school, require that he or she wear a properly fitted helmet on every ride. Find videos, expert advice and safety tips at ShareTheRoad.AAA.com.
- Talk to your teen. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in country, and nearly one in four fatal crashes involving teen drivers occur during the after-school hours of 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Get evidence-based guidance and tips at TeenDriving.AAA.com.
Here are several tips for parents who have children who will be walking, biking or riding the bus to school:
- Cross responsibly. Always cross the street at a corner or at a crosswalk; cross with a crossing guard if there is one.
- Be seen. If it is dark, make sure children wear light-colored clothing or clothing with reflective material.
- Never cross behind a bus or car. Do not cross behind a bus or vehicle where a driver cannot see you. Only cross in front of a bus or vehicle when the driver says it is safe to do so.
- Adopt a buddy system. Have your child walk with a relative or friend.
- Choose the best route. Discuss walking routes with your child and pick the one that is the safest. Once chosen, walk that route with your children and discuss any present road dangers.
- Point out landmarks to look for like crosswalks or traffic signals. Point out the houses of people you know where they can go if they need to.
- Stay alert. Remind your children that it’s important to be alert and aware of their surroundings. Determine a safe location on the route that your children can go to if they feel they are in danger. Also, eliminate distractions such as headphones which can prevent your child from hearing emergency sirens, horns or traffic signals.
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 59 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Ohio. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stock, non-profit corporation working 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 (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com