12 August 2010


Contact: For your local media contact visit: www.AAA.com/Media

Leticia Messam, Manager, Traffic Safety Programs, 
Public & Government Relations, (813) 289-7988, (813) 786-7830 

In Florida, 982 children under 14 years of age were injured in pedestrian-related crashes in 2009
TAMPA, Fla. (Aug. 12, 2010) – AAA supports more than 48,000 School Safety Patrollers at nearly 2,400 schools in the state of Florida. The patrollers do their best to ensure younger children and their peers get to and from school safely. AAA asks motorists to do their part as well and be extra cautious when school begins.
In Florida, 13 percent of the total number of pedestrian traffic injuries involved children under the age of 14 in 2009, according the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. In the same year, 18 children were killed in pedestrian-related crashes and 487 children were injured while riding a bicycle.
“Motorists and parents share the responsibility of helping children avoid traffic crashes,” said Leticia Messam, manager, AAA Traffic Safety Programs.Auto Club South. “Motorists must be on alert in areas like school zones, playgrounds and other areas where children are prevalent, but at the same time, parents must teach their children safe pedestrian habits like making eye contact with motorists and waiting for vehicles to make a complete stop before crossing a street.”
AAA’s School’s Open – Drive Carefully campaign was launched in 1946 to help reduce the number of school-related pedestrian injuries and fatalities. AAA offers the following advice for motorists to keep children safe as they navigate their way through school zones.


  • Follow the speed limit. School zone speed limits are purposefully set low. Children are unpredictable and may have difficulty gauging the distance and speed of an approaching car.
  • Look for AAA School Safety Patrollers. More than half a million AAA School Safety Patrollers are outfitted in lime-green belts and silver badges at 30,000 schools across the country and are a sure sign you’re approaching a school zone.
  • Come to a complete stop at intersections with stop signs. Research shows that more than one third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods.
  • Always stop for loading or unloading school busses. It may be tempting to drive around stopped school busses, but not only is it dangerous, it’s against the law.
  • Eliminate driver distractions. AAA research shows that taking your eyes off the road for two seconds doubles your chances of crashing. Putting down your phone makes you a safer driver and sets a good example for young passengers and pedestrians.
  • Plan Ahead. Leave early for your destination and build in extra time for congestion. Modify your route to avoid school zones and traffic.

AAA Auto Club South has 79 branch offices serving more than 4.1 million members in Florida, Georgia, West and Middle Tennessee and Puerto Rico. Since its founding in 1938, AAA Auto Club South has worked to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve travel safety.