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AAA urges drivers to stay alert & distraction-free as kids return to school

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Tue, Sep 4th 2018 04:05 pm
Lewiston-Porter school students embraced their first day of classes. (Photo by Terry Duffy)
Lewiston-Porter school students embraced their first day of classes. (Photo by Terry Duffy)
'School's Open - Drive Carefully' campaign aims to keep students safe
By AAA of Western and Central New York
AAA Western and Central New York kicked off its annual "School's Open - Drive Carefully" campaign as back-to-school season is in full swing. AAA's "School's Open - Drive Carefully" campaign was launched nationally in 1946 to help reduce the number of school-related pedestrian injuries and fatalities. Now, 72 years later, AAA clubs across the country continue to promote the campaign each fall to remind motorists to watch out for children as they travel to and from school.
Press conferences were held in Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse to raise awareness of the importance of child pedestrian safety. New York State Police and local law enforcement, as well as community leaders, attended each event.
The safety of children walking or biking to and from school is an important message as, in the past decade, more than 25 percent of child pedestrian fatalities occurred after school, between 3-7 p.m. The increased hazards for youngsters are evident in statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Research from AAA and NHTSA shows:
  • 373 pedestrians under the age of 18 died in the U.S. in 2016.
  • In 2014, 17 child pedestrians were killed in New York, five of which were during school transport hours.
  • In 2015, one in every five children under the age of 15 who were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians.
  • More than a third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods.
  • One-fifth of traffic fatalities in kids 14 and younger are pedestrians.
"We urge all drivers to be more attentive while driving and less focused on their cell phones and other distractions," said Tony Spada, president and CEO of AAA Western and Central New York.
As upstate New York's largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 870,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.

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