The Messina Law Firm Aug. 15, 2018

Another summer is over and it’s back to school for many children. An exciting time, full of awe and for some – anxiety. New friends, new teachers, new curriculum and tests, tests, tests.

But walking to school can be a hazardous and even a tragically fatal experience, take a few minutes to talk to your child or children about road safety even if they ride the school bus or your teen drives themselves.

Transportation-Related Fatalities

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration between 2006 and 2015 over 300 children were killed in fatal “transportation-related crashes“. NHTSA has suggested the following safety tip to help them stay S.A.F.E. traveling to and from school.

When riding the bus:

  • Stay 5 giant steps away from the curb

  • Always wait for the bus driver to tell you when to board.

  • Face forward after finding a seat on the bus.

  • Exit the bus when it stops, look left-right-left, and take five steps away from the bus toward the curb.

When walking to school:

  • Children under 10 years old should be accompanied by an adult. Teach your children to always:

  • Use the sidewalk whenever possible, and if there isn’t a sidewalk, walk on the edge of the street facing traffic.

  • Focus when walking near traffic – this is no time for horseplay.

  • Use crosswalks whenever they are available to cross the street.

  • Look left-right-left before crossing any street.

When biking to school:

What a fun and awesome time it is when you get to ride your bike to school. In addition to making certain the bike is safe to ride make sure the following guidelines are followed (and see our post on bike safety):

  • Always wear a properly fitted helmet and securely fasten the chin strap.

  • Ride in the same direction as traffic and follow traffic signs and signals.

  • Stay in the bike lane whenever possible.

  • Use the sidewalk appropriately and keep an eye out for other pedestrians.

  • Never use electronics while riding – they are distracting.

When driving to school:

Among all drivers, teenagers are the most distracted age group that are involved in fatal automobile accidents says the NHTSA. As you can already predict, texting is by far the most common cause of distracted driving among teens. Taking one’s eyes off the road for 5 seconds at 55 mph is the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. In just 2015 alone almost 3,500 people were killed by distracted driving and 391,000 were injured.

  • Have a safe driver behind the wheel.

  • Do not let the car move until everyone’s seat-belt is buckled up.

  • Use appropriate car seats and booster seats for younger passengers, and remember: every child under 13 must ride in the back seat—no exceptions.

  • Finally, remember that the phone stays down when you’re driving!

Importance of road safety.

Parents, talk to your children about the importance of road safety, don’t just quiz them on if they have all their supplies in order, who their new teachers are, who their new friends are… Be certain to talk to them about a safe journey to and from school.

Our thanks go out to the NHTSA for the publishing of their article on back to school safety. Read the entire article here.

Messina Law Firm Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Attorneys have been honored to help our community and clients for over 35 years. A no-fee consultation appointment is available by contacting us here.