What Hidden Safety Risks Could Your Child Face During Back-to-School Season?

What Hidden Safety Risks Could Your Child Face During Back-to-School Season?

Vehicle safety technology and driver awareness could help save lives.

​Itasca, IL, and Iowa City, Iowa – As students head back to school during a year when traffic deaths have climbed 9%, the automotive safety initiative MyCarDoesWhat reminds drivers, pedestrians and cyclists to be careful on the roads.

Sixty-one children are hit by cars every day in the United States, most often during the hours before and after school.[i] Car crashes, the leading killer of teens, typically spike in September.[ii] Although school buses remain the safest form of transportation for children, most injuries and deaths occur as children board or are around the bus.[iii]

"Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for school-age children, and pedestrian fatalities are on the rise," said Deborah Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. "As children head back to class, give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination and remember that you are your car's best safety feature."

"All it takes is a little extra care and caution to help keep our kids and everyone safe at this busy time of year," said Daniel McGehee, director of the National Advanced Driving Simulator at the University of Iowa and principal investigator of MyCarDoesWhat.

While the driver is always the vehicle's best safety feature, many technologies can help, especially back up cameras, pedestrian detection, bicycle detection and adaptive headlights. Drivers should read their owner's manuals to learn about their vehicle's safety features and visit www.mycardoeswhat.org to learn how the technologies work.

MyCarDoesWhat offers the following tips to keep everyone safe this back to school season:

  • Obey the speed limit and pay attention; more children are hit by cars near schools than at any other location.iv]
  • Do not drive distracted
  • Pedestrians: Head up, phone down and away when headed to school or any other destination; never walk while texting, talking on the phone or playing games, such as Pokemon Go
  • Help teen drivers stay safe by limiting passengers in the car; a single young passenger increases the chances of a deadly crash by 44 percent[v]
  • When passing a bicyclist, proceed in the same direction slowly and leave 3 feet between your car and the cyclist
  • Understand how driver-assist technologies – like back-up cameras, pedestrian detection, bicycle detection, rear cross traffic alert and adaptive headlights – can help prevent crashes and save lives 

MyCarDoesWhat was developed by the National Safety Council and University of Iowa Transportation and Vehicle Safety Program to educate drivers about the new safety technologies in vehicles. For more information go to MyCarDoesWhat.org. Follow MyCarDoesWhat on Twitter and Facebook.


About the National Safety Council

Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, the National Safety Council, nsc.org, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact – distracted driving, teen driving, workplace safety, prescription drug overdoses and Safe Communities.

About the University of Iowa

The Transportation & Vehicle Safety Research Program at the University of Iowa works to improve technology design through a better understanding of how drivers perform and behave in crash situations. Their research-driven program works at the intersection of safety technology and public policy. The program's areas of research include: human factors and human behavior, advanced in-vehicle safety technologies, driver distraction, teen driving, crash analysis and autonomous vehicle policy

[i] According to Safe Kids
[ii] According to NSC analysis of NHTSA FARS data
[iii] According to Injury Facts 2016
[iv] According to National Safe Routes to School Programs
[v]According to Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

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