The World’s Largest School-Based Safety Program Curbs Student Pedestrian Deaths
TAMPA, Fla. (March 2, 2021) — Have you ever noticed those school-aged students wearing a bright neon safety belt and badge? Perhaps you were one of them. They’re all participants in AAA’s School Safety Patrol program, which is celebrating 100 years of safety and leadership opportunities for millions of schoolchildren.
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“The AAA School Safety Patrol program changes lives,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “For more than a century, young patrollers have protected their peers, while simultaneously learning lifelong leadership skills. We are extremely proud of this program’s rich history and the impact it continues to make in our community.”
The program started in 1920, when horses and buggies were still a transportation mode. Since that time, countless lives have been saved. The program and its more than 440 Lifesaving Award recipients have contributed to the steady decline of U.S. student pedestrian (ages 5–14) deaths—a 24% decrease since 2010.
While serving as a Patroller in Orlando, Natalie Nugent prevented seven kindergarteners from running into two lanes of oncoming traffic on separate occasions:
“Participating in my school’s Safety Patrol program really did help me become a better leader,” Nugent said. “I tried my best to help out and keep everyone in the school safe.”
Today, the AAA School Safety Patrol is the largest school-based safety program in the world, with more than 679,000 Patrollers in 35,000 schools across the United States. Safety patrollers are typically fifth graders, selected by advisors at their school. Patrollers protect classmates at street crossings, bus and car drop-offs, and in the halls at school.
In addition to their lifesaving duties, patrollers learn the importance of teamwork and develop self-confidence and a sense of responsibility. Former patrollers have grown to become presidents, governors, astronauts, doctors, and CEOs. Even President Joe Biden was once a safety patroller.
School Advisors Play an Integral Role
This program would not be possible without school advisors. These are teachers or administrative personnel who volunteer as the school liaison and leader for the safety patrol. They train students for their role as patrollers, and often serve as mentors, providing them with true leadership responsibilities.
“The benefits of patrolling also go way beyond the school walls,” said Kevin Williams, the 2020 national ’Advisor of the Year’ award winner, who works at Castle Creek Elementary School in Orlando. “I have lead over 460 patrols under my 17 years of leadership. That is over 460 more people in the community who are motivated to be safe, not just for themselves and their family, but for the community that they live in.”
About the AAA School Safety Patrol Program
Over the last 100 years, interest in and excitement for the program have spread around the world. The AAA model has been adopted in at least 30 other countries, including England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and New Zealand.
Since 1920, AAA provides various equipment and education materials to Patrollers, including reflective belts, patrol badges and training resources. To learn how to bring the AAA School Safety Patrol to your school, email AAASchoolSafetyPatrol@acg.aaa.com.
About AAA - The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America with more than 14 million members across 14 U.S. states, the province of Quebec and two U.S. territories. ACG and its affiliates provide members with roadside assistance, insurance products, banking and financial services, travel offerings and more. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 60 million members in the United States and Canada. AAA’s mission is to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve traffic safety. For more information, get the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.