CINCINNATI, Oh. (Aug. 18, 2019) – As students return to the classroom, local patrollers in AAA’s nearly 100 year-old school safety patrol program joined traffic safety advocates to remind motorists to stay alert, slow down and don’t drive distracted with the club’s annual ‘School’s Open – Drive Carefully’ public awareness campaign.
“It’s that time when motorists need to avoid distractions and be aware, as students head back to schools,” said Jenifer Moore, AAA spokeswoman. “Drivers are encouraged to be especially vigilant for pedestrians during, before- and after-school hours. Likewise, we also encourage pedestrians to stay alert while walking, biking or riding the bus to school.”
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling 25 miles per hour is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed as compared to a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling just ten mph faster. Additionally, nearly one-fifth of traffic fatalities of children below the age of 15 are pedestrians, with more school-age pedestrians killed between the hours of 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. than any other time of day.
Pedestrian injuries and deaths can be life altering for children and their families. In 2018, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center treated 84 children (approximately one child every four days) from the greater Cincinnati community for pedestrian-related injuries, according to the hospital’s Comprehensive Children’s Injury Center.
“Keeping pedestrians safe is a task that involves everyone in a community,” said Michelle Price, Injury Prevention Coordinator. “It is important that drivers and pedestrians avoid distractions such as cell phones, obey traffic laws, and that parents discuss and model safe driver and pedestrian behavior for their children.”
AAA is also encouraging the public to take AAA’s “Don’t Drive Intexticated” pledge against distracted driving. “With more distractions than ever and the school year about to begin, motorists need to make a new commitment to put the phone away and watch out for students," said Moore. Motorists can sign the pledge online at www.aaa.com/dontdrivedistracted.
Keep kids safer with AAA’s seven life-saving tips for motorists:
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 a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling just 10 mph faster.
2. 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. Put down the phone.
3. 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.
4. Brake for buses. It may be tempting to drive around a stopped school bus, but not only is it dangerous, it’s against the law, no matter which direction you’re approaching the stopped bus from.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 59 million members nationwide and nearly two and a half 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.