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AAA op-ed: School's open, drive carefully

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Wed, Aug 23rd 2017 06:50 pm
By Anthony B. Spada
Disturbingly, a pedestrian is killed every two hours in the United States, on average, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Soon, millions of school-aged children will be heading back to school eager to learn. It's the responsibility of every adult to protect these precious students.
Consider this: In the last decade, more than 25 percent of child pedestrian fatalities occurred after school, between 3 and 7 p.m. And New York state averages nearly 300 pedestrian fatalities annually.
Many children walk or ride their bikes to and from school. Others travel by car or bus. AAA's annual "School's Open - Drive Carefully" campaign is in its 72nd year of reminding drivers across the state to be vigilant and to be aware of children on our roads.
All drivers need to recognize the special safety needs of pedestrians and especially young children. It is important to be aware that all pedestrians have the right of way regardless of the rules of the road. Drivers are obligated to exercise great care and extreme caution near a school or playground. Children are often the least predictable and the most difficult to see.
So, as children go back to school, take extra care, particularly when you see a school bus and always in all residential areas. Here are some helpful reminders:
  • Always stop for a school bus when the lights are flashing
  • Slow down
  • Remove all distractions from the driver - put cell phones down
  • Do not pass other vehicles
  • Obey crossing guards at all times
  • Expect the unexpected
  • Check your mirrors before moving
  • Teach your children the rules of traffic safety
Please take extra precautions as we enter the school year and thereby create safe driving habits that will last a lifetime and save lives. Thank you.
Anthony Spada is president-CEO at AAA Western and Central New York. He is also currently serving as president of AAA New York State.

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