August 24, 2015 Leave a comment
I’m not going to tell you when I graduated from high school, but let’s just say it was a long time ago. Still, certain memories of those first weeks of the school year remain as uncomfortable as a brand new pair of Levi’s 501 jeans.
Every year, mom drug me to the department stores in search of the best deals. Inevitably, I’d steer her toward the name-brand stuff, and inevitably, she’d redirect me to the knock-offs. Someday, I’ll remind her she didn’t have a reputation to protect.
Who am I kidding? Neither did I.
Anyway, my thoughts are with the millions of Texas kids who are no doubt enduring similar injustices
right about now. Between name-brand knockoffs, standardized tests and social hierarchies, they have enough on their plates. They shouldn’t have to worry about getting to school safely.
Unfortunately, unintentional pedestrian injuries are the second-leading cause of death in the United States for children ages 5 to 14. In Texas, 663 vehicle crashes occurred in school zones last year, resulting in 21 serious injuries. August and September of 2014 alone saw 107 school zone crashes.
The most common factors contributing to these crashes were driver inattention, failure to control speed and failure to yield the right of way at stop signs.
We all share responsibility for making sure kids get to and from school safely. Here are some tips to keep in mind as the school season kicks off.
Tips for pedestrians
- Look left, right and left again before crossing the street. Continue looking until safely across.
- Put phones, headphones and devices down when crossing the street. Parents should model this safe behavior for kids, especially teenagers.
- Walk on sidewalks or paths, and cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. If there are no sidewalks, walk as far to the left as possible, and face traffic.
- Some students ride their bike to school. They should always wear a helmet and ride in the same direction as traffic.
- Children should cross the street with an adult. Every child is different, but developmentally, most kids are unable to judge the speed and distance of oncoming cars until age 10.
For more tips, click here.
Tips for drivers
- Put away your cell phone. Cell phone use is banned in active school zones, and violators face fines of up to $200 in school zones where signs are posted.
- Always obey school zone speed limit signs. Remember, traffic fines usually double in school zones.
- Drop off and pick up your children in your school’s designated areas, not the middle of the street.
- Keep an eye on children gathered at bus stops.
- Be alert for children who might dart across the street or between vehicles on their way to school.
- Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn. You might force pedestrians to go around you, putting them in the path of moving traffic.
- Never pass a bus from behind, or from either direction if you’re on an undivided road, if it is stopped to load or unload children.
For more tips, click here.