Motorist Alert: School Starts Soon
Curb back-to-school tragedies with AAA’s seven life-saving tips
August 21, 2019 – As summer draws to a close, this is the week most South Dakota students return back to schools across the state. AAA warns drivers to be especially vigilant for pedestrians during before-and after-school hours. Typically in the U.S., nearly one-third of all child pedestrian fatalities occur between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
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.
“Motorists really need to be on their toes during the morning and afternoon hours when school children are walking and bicycling to and from school,” said Marilyn Buskohl, spokesperson for AAA. “You never know what a young child will do. They’re unpredictable and spontaneous. Expect the unexpected.”
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.
AAA is also encouraging the public to take AAA’s “Don’t Drive Intexticated” pledge. “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," says Buskohl. Motorists can sign the pledge by going 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’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.
School’s Open, Drive Carefully: https://exchange.aaa.com/safety/child-safety/schools-open-drive-carefully/#.W1CwIiErJQI
Pedestrian Safety: https://exchange.aaa.com/safety/pedestrian-safety/#.W1CxSyErJQI
AAA has loaded its website with lots of useful, free information to help keep children safe. Visit www.AAA.com/Safety.