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Avoid back-to-school tragedies: SLOW DOWN

Article Date: 
18 January, 2012 - 20:14

With the beginning of the school year upon us, there seems to be a growing concern in the community about speeding problems.  Commuter time overlaps school bus schedules and inevitably, people will be in a hurry during prime commuting time.  However, residents need to remember that there are precious little ones lining these streets during these times as well. 
Children waiting at bus stops on busy streets are not always as aware of their surrounding as they should be and adults need to remember that following the speed limit is not only the law, but it could potentially save a life.  According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 25 miles per hour is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed as compared to a pedestrian struck by one traveling just 10 miles per hour faster.
One area that seems to be a big problem is Old Highway Road.  The construction on I-84 has contributed to an increase in traffic in this area and speed is a big concern.  This is a long road and it is easy to pick up speed in some places, but there are several bus stops on this stretch and slowing down is vital.  One concerned parent specifically asked that if you know anyone driving big trucks on this road, please ask them to watch their speed, as they are generally the biggest offenders according to local residents.  
The following is a list of tips from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety:
Slow down. Speed limits in school zones are reduced for a reason. 
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.
Reverse responsibly. 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.
 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 TeenDriving.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.
Choose the safest route. If children are walking to school, parents should choose the safest route and then walk with your children along the route so they are comfortable and knowledgeable with it.  
Practice safe pedestrian habits. While walking with your children, show how to stop and look for vehicles backing out of driveways. Explain to your children how to cross at intersections where there are signals and where there are no signals. Help children know the importance of always walking on the sidewalk and never crossing in the middle of the street. Be an example of good pedestrian habits whenever you are walking with your children.