VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., (August 25, 2014) – While overall fatalities from traffic crashes have decreased over the past decade, the number of pedestrians fatalities has fluctuated very little. Motor vehicle crashes involving pedestrians still account for a large number of injuries each year. According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Crash Data, 427 pedestrians in Hampton Roads were injured in 2013 and 81 of those pedestrians were under 15 years of age. The beginning of the school year (September and October) represent the most dangerous months of the year for pedestrians in Virginia.
“Drivers must realize that children see and think differently than adults. Their field of vision is narrower, they have slower reaction times and their hearing prevents them from locating the source of sounds, such as sirens, quickly. Children do not develop a sense of danger until at least 6 to 8 years of age. As adults, we need to be more aware and prepared for children in traffic,” said Georjeane Blumling, vice president of public affairs for AAA Tidewater Virginia.
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:
- Slow down. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 25 mph is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed compared to a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling just 10 mph faster.
- Eliminate distractions. Children often cross the road unexpectedly and may emerge suddenly between two parked cars.
- Reverse responsibly. Check for children on the sidewalk, driveway and around your vehicle before slowly backing up.
- Talk to your teen. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, and more than one in four fatal crashes involving teen drivers occur during the after-school hours of 3pm to 7 pm. Get evidence-based guidance and tips at TeenDriving.AAA.com.
- Come to a complete stop. Always come to a complete stop, checking carefully for children on sidewalks and in crosswalks before proceeding.
- Watch for bicycles. Children on bikes are often inexperienced, unsteady and unpredictable. If your child rides a bicycle to school, require that they wear a properly-fitted bicycle helmet on every ride. Find videos, expert advice and safety tips at ShareTheRoad.AAA.com.
As part of North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA Tidewater Virginia provides its more than 325,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding AAA Tidewater Virginia has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. For more information, visit AAA.com and follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/AAATidewaterVA or on Facebook at facebook.com/AAATidewaterVirginia