AAA recently released tips to decrease tragedies related to driving for the 55 million children who are heading back to school across the United States. AAA warns that with 13 percent of children walking or biking to school, drivers need to be especially aware of pedestrians before and after school has let out and keep their foot on the brakes in these areas.
"More than 1,200 children lost their lives during these after-school hours between 2000 and 2010, and although we've seen a steady decrease in the number of tragedies each year, it's important to remember that one death is one too many," said Jennifer Huebner-Davidson, manager, Traffic Safety Advocacy.
According to AAA, school zones have slower speed limits for a reason. A person that is struck by a car has nearly a 66 percent better chance of surviving compared to a person struck by a vehicle that is going 10 miles per hour faster.
In addition, the National Safety Council reported that texting while driving is the number one distraction among teens. AAA warns kids and their parents to avoid the cellphone while driving. There are currently 39 states across the nation that have laws to address text messaging by all drivers.
A recent study by National University showed that texting while driving is labeled an extremely dangerous distraction to driving and can cause a driver to be looking away from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. Ohio is one of the latest state's to adopt regulations on texting while driving.
"Texting while driving is the most dangerous of all distractions behind the wheel," said Brian Newbacher, director of public affairs for AAA East Central Ohio. "The teen driving portion of the bill is very strong and AAA supports it 100 percent. AAA would like to see a primary enforcement ban for all drivers in the future but this is a great start."
AAA also cautions to reverse with care and check your blind spots before backing up. Be sure to check for pedestrians, in particular children walking on the sidewalks, before slowly backing up.
More than one third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones and in neighborhoods. Drivers are encouraged to always come to a complete stop before proceeding.
Lastly, AAA also reports that car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers and more than one in four fatal accidents occur during afterschool hours of 3 to 7 p.m.