‘Return to Normal’ Could Present Increased Risk for Children
With children once again enjoying carefree time playing with friends in yards and playgrounds throughout neighborhoods, AAA is advising motorists to be extra cautious. Another level of concern will be raised when excited children head back to school in a few weeks.
Pedestrian fatalities and injuries are on the rise across the country. According to government data, traffic-related pedestrian deaths have spiked 46 percent over the past decade. And while adults make up the bulk of pedestrian deaths and injuries, about 20 percent of children ages 14 and younger killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians.
To help raise awareness and to advise drivers to be alert, AAA’s branch offices in Iowa and Minnesota (excluding Hennepin County) are distributing free “Slow Down, Watch for Kids” yard signs. When posted in a front yard, the signs serve as a reminder that children may be present. They are available for pick-up during regular office hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, while supplies last. AAA membership is not required.
Children are the most unpredictable of all pedestrians. They are also the smallest and most uneducated.
To help avoid a tragedy, AAA advises motorists to:
- Be prepared when in neighborhoods or driving by parks. Children can unexpectedly run out into the street.
- Be vigilant when backing out of driveways and turning onto residential streets, children can be playing in hard to see places.
- Follow posted speed limits at all times, especially in areas that have lower speed limits, such as school zones and neighborhood streets where children may appear suddenly.
- Stay Alert – Avoid Distractions – Put down your phone. Smartphones and handheld electronic devices take your eyes off of the road and distract your attention.
- Always stop when a school bus has its stop sign out. Unless you are on a divided highway, traffic in both directions must stop for a school bus that has its stop sign out. If you are on the other side of a divided highway, still use caution as there are children around.
To pick up a sign, or for additional information, visit your local AAA branch.