AAA urges motorists to slow down and stay alert as kids head back to school Over the next two weeks, 139,000 children will be heading back to school across South Dakota and AAA is urging motorists to slow down and stay alert in residential neighborhoods and school zones. AAAâ�?�?s Schoolâ�?�?s Open â�?�? Drive Carefully campaign is designed to curb unsafe driving behaviors that can result in injury and sometimes death to children. Pedestrian injury is the second leading cause of injury-related death in the U.S. 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. During a national survey, 45 percent of vehicles observed in school zones and residential neighborhoods did not come to a complete stop at stop signs. â�?¢ 37 percent rolled through a stop sign. â�?¢ 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. Using specially designed posters, bumper stickers and decals, AAAâ�?�?s Schoolâ�?�?s Open â�?�? Drive Carefully campaign reminds motorists to stay alert behind the wheel and to: â�?¢ Slow down in and near school and residential areas and to be sure to come to a complete stop at all intersections. â�?¢ Look for clues such as AAA School Safety Patrol members, crossing guards, bicycles and playgrounds which indicate that children may be in the area. â�?¢ Scan between parked cars and other objects for signs of children and be ready to stop if need be. Expect the unexpected. â�?¢ Always stop for school buses that are loading or unloading students. â�?¢ Leave a little early to avoid being in a hurry and having to rush. â�?¢ Drive with your headlights on â�?�? even during the day â�?�? so children and other drivers can see you. As North Americaâ�?�?s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 51 million members (89,000 in South Dakota) with travel, insurance, financial and automotive related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.�? AAA South Dakota can be visited on the Internet at www.AAA.com.
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