AAA urges drivers to be especially cautious for pedestrians, with the start of school Tuesday.
According to AAA, nearly 1/3 of all child pedestrian fatalities occur during after-school hours, between the hours of 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
In 2015 across Oklahoma, 156 pedestrians age six to 18 were killed or injured in traffic crashes, according to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office. The simple truth is that it’s up to motorists to watch out for children walking and biking to and from school.
-Chuck Mai, AAA spokesman
AAA offered the following tips to prevent accidents this school year:
- Slow down: Speed limits in school zones are reduced for a reason. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 25 mph is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed compared to a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling just 10 mph faster.
- Eliminate distractions: Children often cross the road unexpectedly and may emerge suddenly between two parked cars. Research shows that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chances of crashing. Put down the phone.
- Reverse responsibility: Every vehicle has blind spots. Check for children on the sidewalk, driveway and around your vehicle before slowly backing up. Teach your children to never play in, under or around vehicles—even those that are parked.
- Brake for buses: It may be tempting to drive around a stopped school bus, but not only is it dangerous, it's against the law, no matter which direction your're approaching the stopped bus from.
- Talk to your teen: Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, and more than one in four fatal crashes involving teen drivers occur during the after-school hours of 3 to 7 p.m. Get evidence-based guidance and tips at teensdriving.aaa.com?
- Come to a complete stop: Research shows that more than one-third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods. Always come to a complete stop, checking carefully for children on sidewalks and in crosswalks before proceeding.
- Watch for bicycles: Children on bikes are often inexperienced, unsteady and unpredictable. Slow down and allow at least three feet of passing distance between your vehicle and the bicycle. If your child rides a bicycle to school, require that they wear a properly-fitted bicycle helmet on every ride.