Back to School Safety

January 3, 2008

Los Angeles: Now that the holidays are over, it is time for children to return to school and for classes to resume. Each year in the City of Los Angeles nearly 200 children are killed or injured while being picked up or dropped off from school.

In 2006 alone, 192 children citywide were injured while arriving at or departing from school. Fifty-three children were injured in the San Fernando Valley alone.

This is a good time to remind drivers and parents that it is imperative that they drive responsibly. Here are a few tips to ensure the safety of our kids:

ALLOW EXTRA TIME: Parents, who arrive late, or at the last minute, tend to make poor choices when arriving at school. Prepare the night before for the following school day. An organized night is a happy morning.
REDUCE SPEED: The “Maximum” speed near a school is 25 miles per hour. However, slower speeds are recommended when children are present. Speed is the number one cause of collisions around schools.
OBEY STOP SIGNS: Complete stops, at posted stop signs, will allow drivers to check for small children. Drivers of high-profile vehicles must be especially observant and remember that the early morning sun can add to the already existing blind spots.
NO DOUBLE PARKING: Double parking hinders other traffic, causes congestion and creates an unsafe environment for children crossing the streets as they walk to school. Never allow a child to get out of a vehicle that is double-parked.
AVOID U-TURNS: It is unsafe to make a U-turn during drop-off and pick-up times. U-turns are permitted at an intersection only when safe to do so.

Additionally, it is important to understand a child’s limitation in understanding traffic. Children often:

Cannot easily judge a car’s speed and distance.
They assume that if they can see a car, its driver must be able to see them.
Mistakenly believe that cars can stop instantly.
May be impatient and impulsive.
Have trouble recognizing and reacting to danger.

Keeping these tips in mind will ensure that students, parents, and all drivers will remain safe.