Government Sponsored Website Offers Tips to Promote Safe School Commuting for Kids
Now that summer is over, kids throughout Atlanta and the surrounding areas of Georgia are back in school. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched a new campaign called “Safe on the Move” on the Kids Central website, which is designed to discuss the best options for getting your kids back and forth to school safely. While many parents are hesitant to have their kids ride the school bus because they presume using the family vehicle or a carpool with friends is safer, the NHTSA site confirms a fact that might be unexpected to some – the big yellow bus is statistically the safest way for kids to travel to school. Because we know that one of the most important concerns for parents as school starts again is the ability of their kids to commute back and forth to school in the safest manner, we have provided a summary of safety issues discussed on the Kids Central Website.
School Bus Transportation: Although many parents may remember unpleasant experiences riding the bus, the reality is that school buses are extremely safe because of the size and weight of the vehicles, as well as the special seating configuration that protects kids in the event of a collision. However, this does not mean that there is no risk associated with riding a bus. Bus accidents do occur, but statistically they are fairly rare and disproportionately result in a small number of injuries and deaths. It is estimated that 23 million schoolchildren across the U.S. ride the bus, but the American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that only 17,000 kids suffer any form of school bus-related injuries. There also are approximately 24 kids who die in school bus accidents annually according to the NHTSA, but more than half of these occur when kids are mounting and disembarking from the bus rather than in collisions. While the number of injuries may seem high, NHTSA data from the FARS system puts these number in perspective. Approximately 2.24 million people are injured in motor vehicle collisions annually. The fundamental point is that school bus transportation is statistically the safest way for kids to get to and from school especially if you impress upon kids the dangers of entering the street in the vicinity of the bus. The Parents Central website offers the following safety tips:
- Arrive at the bus stop early and coach kids to stand a good distance away from the curb
- Advise kids not to get off the bus until it has completely stopped and the driver has told them to disembark
- Teach kids not to walk behind the bus and have your child make eye contact with the driver before crossing the street
- Instruct kids to move at least five big steps (10 feet) in front of the school bus before crossing the street
Walking to School: Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents involving kids walking to school are far more common than school bus accidents. Approximately twenty percent of kids between the ages of 5 and 9 who die in motor vehicle accidents are pedestrians. Further, the most dangerous time for school kids is in the early afternoon hours when kids are getting out of school and walking home according to the NHTSA. The Parents Central website makes the following suggestions to reduce the risk of kids being involved in a pedestrian accident:
- Arrange for kids to walk with a responsible adult and group of other kids where feasible
- Walk on the sidewalk where possible and wear bright colored clothes to increase visibility
- Teach kids to cross at intersections with pedestrian traffic signals
- Encourage kids to look left-right-left before entering the intersection
Car Transportation: The most important issue that parents need to emphasize to kids is that they should always buckle their seatbelt when riding in a private car to and from school. Parents also may want to advise their kids never to accept a ride with anyone without first obtaining a parent’s permission.
If your child is injured in an accident when traveling to school or returning home, our Georgia motor vehicle accidents attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.