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School zones can be dangerous places for teens

As summer slowly draws to a conclusion, teenagers across Wisconsin prepare for their first days back in the classroom. To get to school, some kids ride with their parents or an experienced bus driver, while others walk. Even though school zones may be safer than other areas, they can also be dangerous. 

In 2015, a nonprofit organization called Safe Kids Worldwide studied school zones. The organization’s findings are alarming. While children between the ages of 15 and 19 represent only about a quarter of the total number of children in the United States, they account for roughly half of youth pedestrian fatalities. Some of these fatalities, of course, occur in school zones. 

Distracted walking is a problem 

Seemingly every teenager nowadays has access to a smartphone. Still, while walking to and from school, distracted behavior is risky. In fact, according to the Safe Kids Worldwide study, 44% of teenagers observed were wearing headphones. Moreover, 31% were looking at their smartphone’s screen while walking through a school zone. 

Unsafe street crossing is also an issue 

School zones generally have clearly marked crosswalks where teenagers can safely get from one side of the road to the other. Unfortunately, students do not always obey pedestrian rules or use crosswalks. As many as 80% of students may cross a public roadway in an unsafe or unmarked place. 

Drop-off and pick-up locations matter 

Even though city planners often work diligently to create safe school zones, their efforts cannot account for bad behaviors from both motorists and pedestrians. If you regularly drop your child off or pick him or her up in an improper place, you likely make the area around your young one’s school less safe. 

School zones can be dangerous places for teenagers for the above three primary reasons. By educating the child in your family about pedestrian safety, you can likely help increase the overall safety of your neighborhood's school zone. Further, by committing to respecting the school zone while behind the wheel of your car, you can help decrease the number of teen pedestrian fatalities.

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