Keeping Kids Safe From Distracted Drivers: Back to School with Safety Top of Mind
With the month of September kicking off the back-to-school season, millions of children are preparing to walk or bike to school, many for the first time. FedEx and Safe Kids USA are teaming up to help spread awareness about pedestrian safety for children, parents and drivers. As the school year begins, two moms reflect and share their thoughts on what this time of year means for them, and how parents and drivers can do their part to keep kids safe when they head back to school.
Tracee Walls, Global Citizenship, FedEx
It feels like my entire community jumps in to action and is on the move when school is back in session. Around the neighborhood, you can hear the sounds of chatter as students stand at the bus stop or walk to school, recounting their summer vacations with great excitement. Parents stand on nearby porches and wave goodbye, hoping that their child is safe on their commute to school.
You can hear the sounds of cars and buses on the go as crossing guards whistle and alert motorists to be mindful of our children’s safety. Seeing those neon green safety vests always gives me a sense of comfort, as I watch the guards carefully navigate traffic and help children cross the street.
In the buzz of students making their way to school, I can also see drivers attempting to multi-task and talk on their cell phone, eat in the car or reach behind their seat. Risky behaviors like these can distract drivers and lead to a potentially dangerous situation on the roads.
That’s one of the reasons it makes me proud that FedEx supports the Walk This Way program with Safe Kids to remind drivers to be alert and careful, especially when driving near schools. As parents and drivers, we must remember to slow down in neighborhoods and around schools and reduce any distractions inside our cars, so we can concentrate on the road and surroundings.
Let’s help keep all kids safe as they walk to and from school, so they return home safely every day!
Dr. Jamie A. Freishtat, Safety Advocate and Spokesperson, Safe Kids
As a pediatrician and mother of two young boys, I look at the beginning of the school year as a time of significant change and new routines. Unfortunately, this can (and does) open up the door for injuries. Doctors and hospitals often see a rise in many different types of unintentional injuries this time of year. So, we need to take personal responsibility and focus on prevention to help keep our kids safe as they are heading back to school.
While most of us would expect drivers to be alert and careful in and around schools, research from Safe Kids shows the opposite is true. According to the report, one out of every six drivers in school zones is distracted by the use of cell phones, eating, drinking, smoking, reaching/looking behind, grooming and/or reading (the authors state that the distraction rates found in this study are actually an underestimate of the true rate!). Therefore, it’s important for drivers to slow down, turn off their phones, avoid any and all distractions, and pay attention to the road.
This also means that we, as parents, need to STOP and PAY ATTENTION as we’re running around the house, trying to get ready in the morning, and pulling out of the driveway. We can’t let our distractedness lead to unintentional accidents. Let’s work towards incorporating safety tips into our new routines, and not allowing our new routines to lead to injury.
Good luck to all the moms and dads on the first day of school and please take some time out to both learn about back-to-school safety, and teach your children! Lastly, don’t forget that you should always serve as a role model. If you act in a safe manner, there is much greater chance your children will, too!