Farm Talk on the Front Porch
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Get back to school safely
Aug 11, 2014
Over 50 million children will attend schools across the United States this school year and all of us can play a role in getting them there safely. Grinnell Mutual recommends the following tips for sharing the road with children during this school year.
In 1939, Nebraska native Frank Cyr led an effort to standardize school transportation, which created the familiar yellow school bus. That commitment to student safety continues to pay dividends. Today, students are about 50 times more likely to arrive at school alive if they take the bus than if they drive themselves or ride with friends according to information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
For students, the most dangerous part of the bus ride is getting on and off of the bus. One way you can make it safer for children is by stopping for a stopped bus. School buses have flashing lights and a stop sign arm to let you know when students board or exit a bus. Depending on your state’s traffic laws, passing a stopped bus may earn you a ticket. (View a state-by-state listing of school bus traffic laws.)
Teens may drive themselves to school or ride with a sibling or friend. Inexperience, overconfidence, and the distractions that come from peer passengers could lead to a tragedy. Teens behind the wheel and their peer passengers are the leading cause of death for 15 to 19-year-olds according to reports from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute. Two or more peer passengers more than triples the risk of a fatal crash with a teen at the wheel.
Teens can help themselves prevent an accident with these tips:
- Get rest. Teens that get at least eight hours of sleep are less likely to have an accident than those who don’t, according to analysis by The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute.
- Listen to their parents. Teens follow the examples set by parents, so model good driving, discuss driving expectations, and practice driving with them. (Read more about how you can help your teen avoid distracted driving.)
- Focus on the road. Because of their inexperience, teens need to give their full attention to driving. Over 20 percent of teen drivers in crashes reported that there was an in-car distraction just before an accident, according to analysis by The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute.
Children who walk to school should stay on sidewalks and paths and cross at street corners. Over three-quarters of child pedestrian deaths occurred away from intersections according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
It’s likely that a part of a child’s journey to school will be on foot. Teach children to look left, right, and left again before crossing the street. If they see a car approaching, they should make eye contact with the driver before crossing the street. Children should never enter a street from between parked cars.
For more information
For information about safety for children, visit Farm Talk on the Front Porch on grinnellmutual.com.