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School Traffic Safety: It’s Time to Slow Down

Published on: September 04, 2019

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Steve Zamora, retired from GTE (Verizon), works as a crossing guard in Huntington Beach. He’s pictured helping Rene Lesley, HB Hope View Elementary President Mentor, who took her grade school daughter to first day of school. Zamora seasonally assists children and adults at designated crosswalks and stop signs /lights on busy streets.

According to the Transportation Research Board, 25,000 children are injured every year in school zone accidents but account for only one of five school zone accident victims–the majority of pedestrians who are hit by a vehicle in a school zone are adults. Likely due to use of electronic devices while walking, death rates increased for ages older than 12 years.

Pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities increased by 32% in the ten-year period between 2008 and 2017. During that same time period, total traffic fatalities decreased by 0.8%.

While pedestrians and drivers are both responsible for school zone accidents, drivers are required to exercise extra caution in school zones, and bear the ultimate responsibility.

  • 1 in 4 high school students typically engage in distracted walking in school zones.
  • 1 in 6 middle school students engage in similar behavior.
  • Rather than walking to a marked school crossing kids tend to cross the street at any point they deem convenient (80% of students cross outside of the designated crossing area.)
  • 1 in 3 parents also engage in unsafe behaviors by not dropping off or picking up their children in designated areas.

Tips

  • When you drive near a school assume that children are present.
  • Never use your cellphone while driving near a school.
  • Don’t drop off kids and make them cross the street by themselves.
  • Never pass a school bus which has extended its stop sign.
  • Don’t look at the screen of an electronic device while walking.
  • Take off your headset before you cross the street so you can listen for traffic.

 

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