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My children are going back to school, and I’m worried about their safety. What can drivers do to prevent accidents with pedestrians, especially children?

Walk SchoolGary Jaffarian explains that following the rules of the road and using common sense, combined with vigilance near schools, will reduce the potential for pedestrian accidents.

Children are vulnerable as they play outside in summer months and even more vulnerable as they stand on street corners waiting for the school bus, walking to school or riding their bikes. There were a few children in Boston struck while playing in driveways and near the road this summer and that is a few too many. Sadly, the accident rate continues to rise, mostly due to cell phone use and other distractions. More children are hit by cars near schools than at any other location, according to the National Safe Routes to School program.

According to a 2017 New York Times article, the most common cause of death in children under the age of 15 is unintentional injury, and the most common cause of unintentional injury is car accidents. Granted, most injuries take place while children are passengers in cars, however many children are victims of injury or death when they are struck by vehicles.

Too many children have been hit by family members when playing in a driveway and not visible behind the vehicle. A child in Boston was recently hit when playing in a cardboard box on her driveway.

The vehicles we represent, Toyota (SafetySense) and Volvo (IntelliSafe), both have advanced safety features to detect pedestrians, back-up cameras and many other safety features. Volvo has a new advance safety feature called “Bird’s-Eye View” with 360° surround view technology, whereby you get a bird’s-eye view of your car and its Pedestrian DetectionPD_hsurroundings so you can see obstacles all around you. Volvo also now offers an integrated booster seat cushion for larger children. Toyota offers a pedestrian detection safety feature. Whether or not you have one of these vehicles, we can all work together to prevent terrible tragedies involving children.

What can you do to reduce or eliminate pedestrian accidents?
• Know where your young children are at all times. When they play outside—whether or not they are in the driveway or on the lawn, if they are not in a fenced-in yard—do not leave children unattended.
• Stay with your children or take turns with another parent watching your children until the school bus arrives. Keep them out of the street until the bus arrives.
• When you are driving in neighborhoods, or near schools, drive slowly and adhere to the lower speed limits posted in school areas.
• Be certain your children are always properly strapped in and in the rear seat where injuries are less likely to be severe in the event of an accident.
• Children are required by law to wear a helmet when riding a bike. That is the best way to prevent head injuries. No exceptions – even if it’s just a ride around the block.
• Look around every time you drive in or out of your driveway if you have small children.

The National Safety Council recommends:
• Don’t double park; it blocks visibility for other children and vehicles.
• Don’t load or unload children across the street from the school.
• Carpool to reduce the number of vehicles at the school.
• Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, forcing pedestrians to go around you; this could put them in the path of moving traffic.
• In a school zone when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection.
• Always stop for a crossing guard holding up a stop sign.
• Don’t honk or rev your engine to scare a pedestrian, even if you have the right of way.
• Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians.
• Always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be, no matter who has the right of way.

Be certain to drive carefully in neighborhoods, around parks and schools and let’s make this the safest back-to-school season ever. Also make sure your brakes are in excellent condition in case you do have to stop quickly. Lastly, never text or look at your cell phone while driving. If we can help with your brakes or safety equipment, Jaffarian Service Department is open Monday through Saturday for your convenience. You can also schedule an appointment 24/7 on line with our Service Scheduler.

Enjoy these last weeks of summer safely.

Ask Gary Jaffarian

 

 

 

Gary Jaffarian

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