17:30 PM

AAA Urges Drivers to be Careful as Classes Resume

Stay alert especially around school zones and neighborhoods

DEARBORN, Mich., (August 24, 2020) — As Michigan students being the school year – in one form or another (virtual/classroom) - AAA is urging motorists to slow down and stay alert in both neighborhoods and school zones. Normally drivers would expect to see increased foot traffic in school zones, sidewalks and crosswalks, but this year will be completely different, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With a mix of in-school and remote learning, motorists could find increased pedestrian traffic in neighborhoods as many students transition to remote and virtual learning options.

"Back to school season looks a little different this year, but it's still important for motorists to be vigilant and keep safety top of mind, " said Adrienne Woodland, spokesperson, AAA – The Auto Club Group. "Traditional school zone activity could move closer to home for many and we are urging drivers to remain alert and expect increased foot and bicycle traffic at all times throughout the day."

Tips for Drivers

  • Slow down and be vigilant in school zones. Speed limits in school zones are reduced for a reason. 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.
  • Expect children in neighborhoods throughout the day. With more students learning from home, whether through homeschooling or virtual learning, children may be playing outside or taking a recess break throughout the day. Treat neighborhoods as school zones by reducing your speed and watching for children near the road.
  • Come to a complete stop. Research shows that more than one-third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods. Always come to a complete stop, checking carefully for children on sidewalks and in crosswalks before proceeding.
  • Eliminate distractions. Research shows that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chances of crashing. And children can be quick, crossing the road unexpectedly or emerging suddenly between parked cars.
  • Watch for bicycles. Children on bicycles are often inexperienced, unsteady and unpredictable. Slow down and allow at least three feet of passing distance between your vehicle and a bicyclist. If your child rides a bicycle to school or around the neighborhood, require that they wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet on every ride. Find videos, expert advice and safety tips at ShareTheRoad.AAA.com.
  • Talk to your teen. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, and nearly one in four fatal crashes involving teen drivers occurs during the after-school hours of 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Get evidence-based guidance and tips at https://teendriving.aaa.com/MI/ .

Crash Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Between 2008 and 2017:

  • 1,241 people were killed in school-transportation-related crashes — an average of 124 fatalities per year.
  • Twenty-one percent (264) of these fatalities were of school-age children (18 and younger).
  • Occupants of school transportation vehicles accounted for 10 percent of the fatalities.
  • Non-occupants (pedestrians, bicyclists, etc.) accounted for 20 percent of the fatalities.
  • Most (70%) of the people who lost their lives in these crashes were occupants of the other vehicles involved.
  • 97 school-age pedestrians died in school-transportation-related crashes.
  • Fifty-five percent were struck by school buses, 1 percent by vehicles functioning as school buses, and 44 percent by other vehicles (passenger cars, light trucks and vans, large trucks, and motorcycles, etc.) involved in the crashes.

AAA in Michigan celebrated its 100th Anniversary - A Century of Service in 2016 and has over 1.5 million members across the state. It is part of The Auto Club Group (ACG). Connect with us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

About AAA - The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America with more than 14 million members across 14 U.S. states, the province of Quebec and two U.S. territories. ACG and its affiliates provide members with roadside assistance, insurance products, banking and financial services, travel offerings and more. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 60 million members in the United States and Canada. AAA's mission is to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve traffic safety. For more information, get the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.