School’s Open. Drive Safely.
I’ll always remember the feeling I had as a kid when we entered the month of September. It was time to go back to school and I hated it! The summertime in the San Fernando Valley was always so much fun! As an adult, back-to-school means more than sales for children’s clothes and school supplies. It means it’s time to pay extra attention to the road and drive very cautiously as more kids become part of the motoring landscape.
According to the AAA, car crashes are the leading cause of death for children age 3 and older, whether the child is a passenger in a car or is struck while walking or biking to school.
With school in session, more and more kids will be walking, biking, and skateboarding the routes we drive daily.
Here are just some of the reasons kids are so vulnerable.
- They are small and less visible to motorists.
- Children don’t have the skills to accurately judge traffic situations, because their peripheral vision is one-third narrower than an adult’s.
- Children do not possess the capability to make sound judgments regarding speed and distance.
- Children are extremely distractible, especially when around other kids.
Bottom line: adults must compensate for kids inexperience, physical limitations, and lack of maturity.
To help adults be more careful, aware, and cautious drivers, and to help kids be safe, AAA founded the School’s Open – Drive Carefully! campaign in 1946. This valuable program has successful contributed to lowering school-related pedestrian fatalities across America.
To help protect children, AAA urges motorists to follow these safety tips:
- Slow down near schools and in residential areas.
- Drive with your headlights on – even during the day – so children and other drivers can see you.
- Look for clues such as AAA School Safety Patrollers, bicycles and playgrounds that indicate children could be in the area.
- Scan between parked cars and other objects for signs of children.
- Practice extra caution in bad weather.
- Always stop for school buses that are loading or unloading passengers.
To learn more about this valuable program, call the Auto Club Community Affairs and Traffic Safety department at 1-800-380-8080, or go to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety to obtain free driving safety materials.
One more piece of advice. Don’t be a distracted driver. Never, ever, text while driving and if you must talk on the phone while driving, always use a legally permitted hands-free device. Remember the children walking and biking to and from their school are loved just as much as the kids in the backseat of your car.
Robert M. Cohen
Attorney at Law
Walker & Walker Attorney Network at 1-800-THE-LAW2
The information within the blog is not to be construed as legal advice.