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Triple A Urges Drivers to Use Caution as Students Head Back to School

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Triple A Auto Club is warning drivers to beware of students heading back to school during the coming days and weeks. The agency reports 55 million children are heading to classes and drivers are urged to slow down and stay alert in neighborhoods and school zones. Extra vigilance is called for regarding pedestrians during before-and-after school hours. Triple A says the afternoon hours are particularly dangerous for walking children. Over the last decade, nearly one-third of child pedestrian fatalities happened between 3 and 7 pm.

AAA's School's Open Drive Carefully awareness campaign was launched in 1946 in an effort to prevent school-related child pedestrian traffic crashes.

AAA offers seven ways to keep kids safe this school year:

  1. Slow down.  Speed limits in school zones are reduced for a reason. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling 25 mph is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed compared to a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling just 10 mph faster.  A difference between 25 mph and 35 mph can save a life.
  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.
  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. Talk to your teen. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, and more than one-quarter of 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Look for AAA School Safety Patrollers - Nationwide, more than 654,000 AAA School Safety Patrollers stand guard at 34,500 schools. When you see one, a school zone is likely nearby.