TULSA, AUGUST 15, 2017 – As summer draws to a close, this is the week most Oklahoma students return back to schools across the state. AAA warns drivers to be especially vigilant for pedestrians during before-and after-school hours. Typically in the U.S., nearly one-third of all child pedestrian fatalities occur between 3 p.m. and 7 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,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “Tragically, that number is an increase of 20 from the number recorded in Oklahoma in 2014. The simple truth is that it’s up to motorists to watch out for children walking and biking to and from school.”
Keep kids safer with AAA’s seven life-saving tips for motorists:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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 you’re approaching the stopped bus from.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
AAA’s School’s Open – Drive Carefully awareness campaign was launched in 1946 in an effort to prevent school-related child pedestrian traffic crashes—helping kids to live fulfilling, injury-free lives.
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and more than 400,000 members in Oklahoma. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.
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AAA Oklahoma, 10051 S. Yale Ave. Suite 106, Tulsa, OK 74137 United States