ORLANDO, FL --- Fifty-six million children across the country begin heading back to school this month, and the Auto Club's annual "School's Open --- Drive Carefully" campaign is urging motorists to slow down and stay alert in residential neighborhoods and school zones.
AAA's campaign hopes to curb a trend of unsafe driving that can result in children's injury and sometimes death. Pedestrian injury is the second leading cause of injury-related death in the United States for children ages 5 to 15, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 33,500 children were treated in emergency rooms for pedestrian-related injuries in 2005.
Nearly half (45 percent) of vehicles observed in school zones and residential neighborhoods during a 2003 national observational survey did not come to a complete stop at stop signs. A total of 37 percent rolled through a stop sign, and 7 percent did not even slow down.
Additionally, nearly a third of motorists violated stop signs when a child pedestrian was present, and two-thirds exceeded the posted speed limit during the 30 minutes before and after school.
AAA's School's Open -- Drive Carefully campaign is spreading its message with posters, magnets, bumper stickers, handouts, media outreach and other community initiatives to reach motorists.