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FHWA Highway Safety Programs

Newspaper Article 10: Child pedestrians (walking to school, etc.)

Anytown- Latrecia Banks, an Anytown Elementary School third-grader, will present her award-winning drawing to Governor Harris this Friday in the State Capitol's Great Hall. "I want him to have this picture of my brother Chris," she said. "He's getting better, and I know he's trying to help keep other kids safe so they don't get hurt too."

Latrecia and Governor Harris will gather on Friday with other Anytown students and residents to celebrate International Walk to School Day, which gives children, parents, school teachers and community leaders an opportunity to be part of a global event as they celebrate the many benefits of walking. Last year nearly 3 million walkers from 21 countries walked to school together for various reasons-all hoping to create communities that are safe places to walk. Governor Harris has proclaimed this day "Anytown's Walk to School Day" as well, stating that: "We're gathering here to help make walking safer for all of our state's children."

After-school and early evening are busy times for children as pedestrians. Children may walk home from school, to and from bus stops, to friends' houses, to recreational areas or to businesses. The Banks family has learned just how dangerous this can be. Chris Banks was walking home from the bus stop one afternoon in February when a driver who didn't see him in time hit him.

Chris' incident is not isolated. From 19XX to 20XX, 37% of Anytown City pedestrian fatality victims were either under the age of 20 or over the age of 59. From 19XX-20XX, 34% of children aged 5-9 who died in traffic crashes were pedestrians.

Drivers should keep in mind that children have special characteristics that make them susceptible to crashes. They have less accurate depth perception, tendencies to "dart" out in to traffic, and difficulty in judging the speed of a vehicle. By talking about these issues to children, you help them to understand that they have the right to walk safely and also have a responsibility to look out for drivers who may not be looking for them.

The International Walk to School Day is one way to show support for Anytown's smallest and most vulnerable pedestrians. To participate, simply join your children in walking to school on Friday morning. You can also contact your child's school for more information about their plans for Friday morning, as many schools plan special rallies to start the day.

The Anytown Pedestrian Safety Coalition is currently conducting a campaign to remind drivers to look for pedestrians; and to encourage pedestrians to use crosswalks and follow the pedestrians crossing signals.

More information about this and other safety issues is available in English and some in Spanish. To volunteer or obtain more information about Anytown's Pedestrian Safety Campaign and other associated events, please call (Campaign Coordinator's name here) at (phone number) or (email address).