In 2017, 374 pedestrians and 110 bicyclists age 5-19 were killed in traffic accidents with overall bicycle fatalities peaking in August, according to the National Safety Council.
This fact along with other critical data about children’s risk factors for injury and death has prompted the Council to release a Back-to-School Safety Checklist for parents and caregivers.
The latest move on the part of the Council also offers a good occasion for fleet managers to remind commercial drivers how they can do their part to increase roadway safety for children.
The total number of pedestrian deaths in 2017 was 5,977, with 5- to 9-year-olds experiencing 47 deaths, the fewest fatalities of all groups. However, these deaths still represented 15% of all traffic deaths for this age group.
Far too many children are losing their lives needlessly in roadway accidents. Experts offer the following advice to fleet drivers:
- As summer draws to a close, drivers should be reminded to stay alert for the presence of children, especially in bedroom communities. Kids may be riding bikes on the wrong side of the road or running into traffic chasing after a ball or Frisbee, for example.
- Drivers should also slow down when driving near parks and playgrounds. Toddlers may suddenly wander away from an adult into the street, for example. As for tweens and teens, skateboards and scooters are popular and these young riders can suddenly appear in the roadway—seemingly out of no way where.
- Remind your fleet to be extra cautious at intersections and when making turns. Children are small and can be easily missed in a vehicle mirror’s blind spot.
- Finally, drivers should always come to a full stop when behind a school bus as it lets children on and off. While youngsters are not back to school just yet, many communities rely on buses to take kids to and from summer camp.