“When children return to school in September, traffic volume increases,” said Donna Galasso, assistant director of AAA’s Traffic Safety unit. “Motorists are urged to exercise caution and patience while driving in school zones, near bus stops, playgrounds and on neighborhood streets. Children are easily distracted and tend to focus on the things that interest them at the moment and can be very impulsive,” Galasso said.
One-fifth of traffic related deaths of children, 14 and younger are pedestrian fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These pedestrian fatalities are more likely to happen in the afternoon hours, when school is letting out.
AAA’s 72nd annual “School’s Open-Drive Carefully” campaign encourages drivers to be alert in areas where children are present, paying extra attention during morning and afternoon hours when children are traveling to and from school. School-age children can be especially vulnerable in areas with heavy traffic volume, parked vehicles, higher posted speed limits and limited pedestrian-control devices.
As part of the “School’s Open Drive Carefully” campaign, thousands of posters, bumper stickers and other educational materials are distributed.
In addition, AAA Northeast is offering a tip sheet for parents to review with their children for choosing the safest route to school, along with important safety rules. Available in Spanish and English, at AAA.com/Safety, it advises parents to show their children which route to take and why.