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Student safety campaign aims to reduce pedestrian accidents in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach

For the elementary school students at Pine Joe Elementary in West Palm Beach, participating in the Oct. 6 Walk to School day event meant more than getting some fresh air and a traffic safety lessons on their way to and from school, the Sun Sentinel reports.

For them, as much as it was about exercise, it was also about remembering a popular 8-year-old classmate who was struck and killed while riding his bicycle home from school a month ago. More than 20 elementary schools in Broward and Palm Beach Counties and West Palm Beach chose to participate in this year’s event – now in its 13th year – joining 3,200 schools across the country and student from more than 40 countries around the globe.

West Palm Beach pedestrian accident lawyers know that each year more than 39,000 children aged 14 and younger are injured in pedestrian accidents and another 630 are killed in pedestrian-related traffic fatalities. But thanks to safety organizations like Safe Kids USA and awareness campaigns like International Walk to School Day and Safe Routes to School, from 1995 to 2005 the number of child pedestrians killed each year has dropped by more than 50 percent.

The Florida Department of Transportation has distributed more than $29 million in federal SRTS funds to implement and sustain projects that promote bicycle and pedestrian safety. Aside from traffic safety, SRTS also emphasizes a pro-environmental message and endorses healthy, active, lifestyle by encouraging students to skip the bus and walk or pedal from home to campus each day.

Funding can be used for sidewalk and crosswalk improvement projects, disability access ramps, school zone signage and equipment to assist crossing guards and police who work with school children.

Safe Kids offers a few top tips to help kids master safe pedestrian behaviors:

~ Before crossing any street, STOP. Look left and right twice and make sure the street is clear before crossing. Always walk, never run.

~ Always walk facing traffic and obey all traffic signals and signs.

~ Never let a child under age 10 cross streets unsupervised or unassisted. Teach children to wear bright clothing during the day, and reflective clothing if they have to walk when it is dark. Teach them to carry and use a flashlight when visibility is limited.

~ Parking lots and driveways are not safe play areas for children, neither are streets or unfenced yards that abut streets.

Even First Lady Michelle Obama is excited about this year’s month-long awareness campaign. “I know that by getting students moving, we can help ensure they will live full and healthy lives, and that is why I am so encouraged by all the events going on across our country this month,” said the First Lady.

The Fort Lauderdale pedestrian accident attorneys at Freeman & Mallard have been successfully and aggressively representing accident victims and their families in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Ft. Pierce /Port St. Lucie for years. Call us today to schedule a no-obligation appointment to discuss your case at 1-800-529-2368.

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