While many families are fortunate enough to live close enough to school for their children to walk most days, many parents still choose to drive or put their kids on the bus because they fear for their safety. This is not surprising because in the U.S. approximately 100 children are killed every year while walking to or from school, and another 25,000 sustain moderate to severe injuries. Hupy and Abraham would like to offer some safety tips to help families safely participate for Walk-to-School Day.
For 2016, October is Walk-to-School Month with Walk-to-School Day taking place on October 5, and there are many reasons to participate ranging from better health and environmental benefits to a reduction in traffic congestion. However, it is important to first take the time to teach children the importance of pedestrian safety and laws when in or around school zones so they are less likely to be involved in an accident as a pedestrian.
Why So Many Accidents?
Children appearing from between vehicles and running across intersections account for 60 to 70 percent of pedestrian injuries for children age 10 and younger. However, a 2009 study from Safe Kids USA also showed that one in six drivers in school zones is driving distracted, putting kids at risk of potentially devastating injuries.
Tips for Parents and Students:
- Look for traffic at every driveway and intersection. Be extra aware of parked cars that may be about to move.
- Obey all traffic signs and signals. Never run across to beat a light.
- Select a walking route with less traffic and intersections.
- Choose a route with a limited number of street crossings. When possible, cross at a location with an adult school crossing guard.
- Walk, not run, straight across to the other side of the street. Running or crossing at an angle makes it difficult for drivers to determine how long it take you to cross.
Tips for Drivers:
- Be attentive at ALL times, but especially in school zones. Texting while driving has shown to be more difficult than driving while intoxicated.
- Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, forcing pedestrians to go around you and potentially into harm’s way.
- NEVER pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians.
If a child is hit by a car when walking to school, fault is usually attributed to the driver. But regardless of right-of-way laws, drivers should always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be.
Schools also have a responsibility to students and parents to provide a safe environment on and around school grounds. This may require the presence of crossing guards, additional signage or increased law enforcement presence near school zones to ensure pedestrian safety. Contact your child’s school or local law enforcement to enquire about ways to improve school zone safety.
If you have any questions regarding pedestrian laws or what to do if your child was injured while walking to school, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Hupy and Abraham are here to help. Contact us at 800-800-5678 or start a live chat anytime at Hupy.com.