|Excel Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine
2801 North Decatur Road
Decatur, GA 30033 USA
A significant number of children under age 15 die from accidents involving motor vehicles and pedestrians. That's according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. But simple steps can reduce the number of accidents in any community.
- Teach school children about traffic safety; if possible, make this part of the school curriculum for all grade levels.
- Expand school busing programs so fewer children walk to school.
- Encourage door-to-door pick-ups so that children don't have to cross streets. Additionally, the time spent in the bus reduces the time available for children to play in or near streets.
- Begin a safe-driving campaign to encourage all drivers to practice careful driving. This can include public safety announcements, posters, and other events.
- Increase traffic tickets and warnings issued by police in high-risk and high-population areas. New Haven, Connecticut put this safety program into effect. There was a 61 percent decrease in collisions involving children over a six-year period (1993 to 1999). Similar programs in Alabama, Ohio, Wisconsin and California have also helped reduce the number of injuries.
- Ban parking on one side of the street.
- Add speed bumps.
- Build pedestrian overpasses.
- Set traffic signals to give children more time to cross busy intersections and to slow cars and trucks between signals
- Ban cell phone use by drivers.
Most pedestrian-motor vehicle accidents happen because the driver is distracted. Cell phones are a huge factor. There's no way a driver can devote full attention to the road and talk on the phone at the same time.
- Decentralize public housing; more accidents occur in low-income areas with high populations.
- Post crossing guards at high-risk corners during high-risk times. These include busy streets that children must cross on their way to school and home.
- Post warning signs such as "School crossing" or "Playground" for motorists in high-risk areas
- Make sure that crosswalks are well lit and brightly colored. Use reflectors or small lights in the street pavement.
- Add, improve or fence sidewalks.
- Provide safe, clean, fenced playgrounds.
To make your town safer for children try this program. You may be able to get help from a local parent-teacher organization, hospital, or doctor's office, or government official. A group can research accident statistics, traffic patterns and census data. This information will give you the background you need to approach officials who can make changes.
Start by identifying the areas where accidents were most frequent. Look at when accidents happened. Find out how many children live in the area. When you have your facts assembled, you can design a plan.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
6300 N. River Road
Rosemont, IL 60018