NCSR Offers Back-to-School Red Light Safety Tips

Since 2000, 130 school-age pedestrians (younger than 19) have died in school transportation-related crashes with 56 (43 percent) between the ages of 5 and 7.

As millions of students nationwide head back to school, the National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) is calling special attention to red-light safety for motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists.

No matter how they get to and from school—cars, buses, bikes, or walking—NCSR is striving to educate parents and students about the importance of staying safe by being vigilant about their surroundings.

"As many parents focus on back-to-school supplies, it is essential that they take the time to talk with their children who are either heading to school for the first time, or back to school, about traffic and road safety precautions to ensure a safe commute," said David Kelly, president and executive director of NCSR, and former acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). "The greatest risk for children is when they are walking to school or waiting for the bus, when they are at risk for falling victim to careless red-light runners."

Since 2000, 130 school-age pedestrians (younger than 19) have died in school transportation-related crashes with 56 (43 percent) between the ages of 5 and 7.

Red-light running is the leading cause of urban crashes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). In 2009, 676 people were killed and an estimated 113,000 were injured in crashes that involved red-light running, with pedestrians, bicyclists, and occupants in vehicles that are hit by the red-light runners accounting for about half of the deaths.

To highlight the importance of back to school road safety, NCSR is reminding adults and children about important red-light safety tips:

  • Always stop at red, whether it’s a red light, stop sign, pedestrian crosswalk signal, or school bus signal.
  • Be aware of children walking to and from bus stops, because they might not be paying attention to you and could dart into the road.
  • Always stop, look, and listen before crossing an intersection—even if the pedestrian signal shows the walking figure.
  • Always wear a helmet and be aware of the around traffic you. Be cautious and share the roadway.
  • Obey posted speed limits and never try to beat a light to save a few seconds. No family should have to suffer the loss of a loved one because of someone's desire to beat a light.
  • Reduce any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings. Never talk on your cell phone or text while driving.
  • Listening to music, talking, or texting on cell phones as you walk or ride your bike are deadly distractions that leave you unaware of your surroundings. Keep devices off and your eyes and ears open. Stay alert and aware of your surroundings.

"There are too many close calls with careless drivers at intersections. We're promoting back-to-school road safety and red-light safety to help protect our children, our families, and our communities from the callous and dangerous behavior of red-light runners," Kelly said. "By using innovative technologies such as red-light safety cameras at dangerous intersections across the country, we can put an end to deadly red-light running. Together, we can protect our communities, families, and children by always stopping on red."

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