AAA urges drivers to stay alert and distraction free as kids return to schoolby jmaloni
"Schools Open - Drive Carefully" campaign aims to keep students safe
AAA is kicking off its annual "School's Open - Drive Carefully" campaign as back-to-school season is about to be in full swing. The campaign, launched nationwide in 1946, reminds drivers to engage in safe behavior in school zones and residential neighborhoods in an effort to help reduce the number of school-related pedestrian injuries and fatalities.
The increased hazards for youngsters are evident in statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and should not be understated.
Research from AAA and NHTSA shows:
•More than a third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods.
•Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children age 4 and every age 11 through 14.
•One-fifth of traffic fatalities in the 14 and younger age group are pedestrians.
•In the Past decade, more than 25 percent of child pedestrian fatalities occurred after school, between 3 and 7 p.m.
"Protecting our youngsters from unnecessary harm is of the highest importance to all of us. We often forget that this change in schedule for our kids should also involve a change in habits for drivers," said Tony Spada, president and CEO of AAA Western and Central New York. "While children may not always remember to be safe at all times, your alertness may prevent a tragedy."
To help protect children, AAA urges motorists to follow these safety tips:
•Avoid Distractions - Keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. Focus on where you're going, not on electronic devices or in-car technologies.
•Take Your Time - Allow extra time for school zone traffic or adjust your route to avoid it.
•Stop at Stop Signs -Treat a stop sign as you would a red light. Come to a complete stop every time.
•Slow Down - Speed limits in school zones are reduced for a reason. A difference of 10 mph can save a life.
•Brake for Buses - Passing a stopped school bus is dangerous and against the law, so don't do it.
As upstate New York's largest member services organization, AAA provides nearly 860,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.