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August 31, 2015
Motorists Reminded to be Alert as Students Head Back to School
MILWAUKEE, Wisc. (August 31, 2015) – As children across the city head back to school tomorrow, AAA is partnering with the Milwaukee Police Department and Milwaukee Public Schools to remind area drivers to slow down and stay alert in neighborhoods and school zones, and to be especially vigilant for pedestrians during before- and after-school hours.  They are also encouraging parents to help ensure that students follow proper safety precautions, whether they are walking, riding the bus, or driving themselves. 
Afternoon hours between 3 and 7 p.m. are particularly dangerous for students.  Over the last decade, nearly one-third of child pedestrian fatalities and more than one-quarter of fatal crashes involving teen drivers occurred during that timeframe. 
Motorists are urged to take the following steps to help keep kids safe this school year:

  • Slow down.  Speed limits in school zones are reduced for a reason. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling 25 mph is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed compared to a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling just 10 mph faster.
  • Eliminate distractions. Children often cross the road unexpectedly and may emerge suddenly between two parked cars. Research shows that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chances of crashing.
  • Reverse responsibly.  Every vehicle has blind spots. Check for children on the sidewalk, driveway and around your vehicle before slowly backing up. Teach your children to never play in, under or around vehicles—even those that are parked.
  • 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.
  • 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 the bicycle.  If your child rides a bicycle to school, require that they wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet on every ride.
“With a little extra caution, we can make this a safe year for all children,” said Sgt. Timothy Gauerke of the Milwaukee Police Department.  “We are all responsible for the safety of our children as they make their way to and from school."
Students will be helped to school by the 175 crossing guards employed by the Milwaukee Police Department.  And over 60 MPS schools utilize the AAA School Safety Patrol Program, now in its 95th year of service, to help students learn and fulfill their own responsibilities for traffic safety.
“Students in 14 of our schools are already in session and all 154 schools will be in session as of September 1,” said MPS Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver.  “That means more than 77,000 students will be heading to school every day.  We are grateful to AAA and MPD for helping get the word out so all of our students have a safe school year.”
Parents of students riding the bus should instruct them not to cross the street diagonally or behind the bus. Parents picking up and/or dropping off students at the bus stop should park safely away from the stop, but on the same side of the street as the bus stop to avoid the possibility of a student being hit by a vehicle while crossing the street.  Parents should remind the child to stay out of the “Danger Zone,” the area in front of the bus, area in back of the bus, and the area around the side of the bus where the driver is unable to see the child.
If you have a teen that will either be driving to school or riding with a friend, be aware that according to a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the most common cause of teen driver crashes is distraction, either from peer passengers in the car or an electronic device.   You can find evidence-based guidance and tips on how to keep your teen safe at
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 55 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at


Nick Jarmusz
phone: 608-828-2495
About The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to approximately 9 million members across 11 states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with nearly 55 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.


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