HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – With school back in session, there is an increase in student pedestrian and cyclist traffic.
Pedestrian vehicle injuries are the 5th leading cause of death for students ages five to 19 years old.
The excitement of back-to-school can distract students from the most basic of safety rules. That’s why the Youth of Virginia Speak Out (YOVASO) about Traffic Safety organization is working to be the reminder.
A Virginia State Police crash report shows Hampton Roads is one of the highest concentration areas for pedestrian-involved deadly accidents.
Molly Jackson with YOYASO wants to lower the numbers across the state by helping students and drivers remember key safety rules.
“When you’re walking around the school bus, make sure you can not only see the bus driver, but that the bus driver can see you. Be alert. Make sure you put that phone down. Go to well-lit, designated crosswalks and sidewalks, and look at your surroundings,” said Jackson. “If you are walking, remember that the days are getting shorter. If you’re walking or on a bike or waiting on a bus, have bright colors on so we can see you as motorists.”
Students can study the basics all year long, but it only helps if drivers are also doing their part, especially around school buses.
“If you see the flashing lights, even the yellow lights, please stop. You know a lot of times, students are unpredictable. They can ignore the surroundings and ignore the hazards. Make sure that you as a driver stay far enough away from them, because these kids are either excited to get off the bus or get on the bus, so they might start running. You never know what the students will do,” said Jackson.
She encourages parents to take the time to chat with their students about these safety measures, and hopes adults measure up to the rules of the road this back-to-school season.