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Mundelein Police Chief Urges Motorists to Drive with Extra Caution Due to Upcoming School Openings

Schools are now open and the Mundelein Police Department wants to remind motorists to be particularly cautious and carefully watch for children on their way to and from school.

“It’s up to us to look out for these students because some of the children are not thinking about safety—especially those going to school for the first time,” said Mundelein Police Chief Eric Guenther. “They’re young and too excited to be aware of traffic dangers to pedestrians.”

Each fall, over 55 million children across the United States head back to school. With 13% of those children typically walking or biking to their classes, AAA warns drivers to be especially vigilant for pedestrians before and after school hours. The afternoon hours are particularly dangerous. In fact, over the last decade, nearly one in four child pedestrian fatalities occurred between 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Launched in 1946, AAA’s School’s Open – Drive Carefully awareness campaign was created as a way to help reduce child pedestrian fatalities and injuries. Here are several recommendations from AAA regarding ways drivers can help keep kids safe:
• Slow down. Speed limits in school zones are reduced for a reason. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 25 mph is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed compared to a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling just 10 mph faster.
• Come to a complete stop. Research shows that more than one-third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods. Always come to a complete stop, checking carefully for children on sidewalks and in crosswalks before proceeding.
• Eliminate distractions. Research shows that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chances of crashing. And children can be quick, crossing the road unexpectedly or emerging suddenly between two parked cars. Reduce risk by not using your cell phone or eating while driving, for example.
• Watch for bicycles. Children on bikes are often inexperienced, unsteady and unpredictable. Slow down and allow at least three feet of passing distance between your vehicle and a bicyclist. If your child rides a bicycle to school, require that he or she wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet on every ride. Find videos, expert advice and safety tips at ShareTheRoad.AAA.com.
• Talk to your teen. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, and nearly one in four fatal crashes involving teen drivers occur during the after-school hours of 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Get evidence-based guidance and tips at TeenDriving.AAA.com

Drivers also should note that legislation was enacted that drivers must stop and yield the right-of-way for a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Additionally, recent legislation also prohibits the use of handheld phones.

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