Kids, the School Bus, and You! (Yes YOU!)

With summer coming to an end and school bells ringing in another school year, it is important for parents and drivers to remember to do their part to keep kids safe as they travel to and from school.

School Zone Safety

Riding on a school bus is the safest way for your child to travel to and from school (Yes, it’s even safer than you taking them yourself!). However, the greatest risk is not riding the school bus –but rather the threat of being struck by a bus or motorist while approaching or leaving it.

Therefore children need to be especially careful around the school bus “danger zone,” (the 10 feet in front, behind and on each side of the school bus) and motorists need to be on a vigilant lookout for child pedestrians – and be extra cautious around school buses.

Most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related crashes are pedestrians, four to seven years old, who are hit by the bus or by motorists illegally passing a stopped school bus.

Passing a school bus is a MAJOR offense that carries the same consequences as a DUI

For this reason, it is necessary to know the proper laws and procedures for sharing the road safely with school buses:

  • The area 10 feet around a school bus is where children are in the most danger of being hit. Stop your car far enough from the bus to allow children the necessary space to safely enter and exit the bus.
  • Be alert. Eliminate your distractions. Children are unpredictable. Children walking to or from their bus are usually very comfortable with their surroundings. This makes them more likely to take risks, ignore hazards or fail to look both ways when crossing the street.
  • Take extra precautions in school zones and neighborhood areas where children and teenagers might be walking or riding a bicycle.
  • Never pass a school bus on the right. It is illegal and could have tragic consequences.
Whether children walk, ride their bicycle or take the bus to school, it is extremely important that they take proper safety precautions. Here are some tips to share with your children to ensure their safety when traveling to and from school.
  • Whether you’re getting on or off the bus, stay 10 feet ahead of the bus when crossing the street in front if it, and NEVER walk behind the bus
  • Be sure the bus driver can see you and you can see the bus driver.
  • Never walk behind the bus.
  • If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up first because the driver may not be able to see you.
Most young children who are hit by motor vehicles are injured near their home or on neighborhood streets in broad daylight. One third of all child pedestrian fatalities occur during the after school hours, between 3 and 7 pm.Teach your child these tips to increase their safety while walking:
  • Always look left-right-left before crossing the street and never run or dart out from in-between parked cars. The driver will not be able to see you.
  • Be sure to keep on the lookout for cars as you cross, they can approach very quickly!
  • Never run out into streets or cross in between parked cars.
  • Use a cross-walk if you can –otherwise be sure to only cross the street at corners.
  • Keep on the sidewalk –if there’s no sidewalk then be sure to face traffic as you walk.

If you live in Indiana and would like to discuss your insurance with me Click Here.

Related articles:

Sources:
1.  Curb Back-to-School Tragedies with AAA’s Tips

Image courtesy of anankkml / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Don’t lose your freedom on the 4th of July!

Don't loose your freedom. Don't drink and drive.While celebrating our nation’s birthday should be a fun and festive event, all too often it turns tragic, as the Fourth of July is considered one of the deadliest times of the year on our nation’s roadways due to a rise in impaired driving.

July 4th is about the birth of a country –NOT the death of its people!

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle traffic crashes killed 392 people during the 2010 Fourth of July holiday period (6:00pm July 2- 5:59am July 6).  Of those fatalities, 39 percent were in crashes that involved at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. Tragically, 46 percent of the alcohol-impaired driving fatalities were 18 to 34 years old. 1

Nationally, more than 10,000 people were killed in impaired driving crashes in 2010, accounting for 31 percent of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.  That’s an average of one alcohol impaired driving fatality nearly every 51 minutes. 1

Impaired driving is even more fatal at night. During the 2010 July 4th holiday period, the proportion of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes in was almost five times higher at night than during the day. In fact, more than 80 percent of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities took place between the hours of 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m. 1

While these fatalities are devastating they are fully preventable. Contrary to popular belief, planning ahead does not mean you can’t still have fun. It means nothing more than taking responsibility and making a decision to keep you, your loved ones, and everyone on the road safe.

There are numerous ways to stay safe and celebrate responsibly. NHTSA offers these tips when planning a celebration:

  • Plan a safe way home before the fun begins;
  • If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member –if you think that’s a pain, try finding a friend who will bail you out of jail!
  • Before drinking, designate a sober driver;
  • If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, call 911!
  • And remember, Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving. If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

Consequences from driving impaired are real. You could kill yourself or someone else, and financial costs from the crash or arrest are significant. In the end, the consequences of driving impaired simply not worth the risk.

Make sure to plan ahead before the celebration begins, otherwise you will be seeing your own version of REDWHITE and BLUE from the lights of the cop that is pulling you over! 

For more information about how to stay safe this Fourth of July, please visit: nhtsa.gov/impaired

Source:
1. NHTSA | Impaired

Who the hell leaves a kid in their car on a hot day?!?!

Alright, I’ll be the first to admit it – when I see the horrible headlines about a child losing their life to Hyperthermia (aka Heat Stroke) in a vehicle I wonder “What in the hell is wrong with the imbecile who could do something so horrible?!?”

I mean seriously, what type of a monster could be capable of such of such a thing?

As it turns out — the wealthy do. And the poor. And the middle class. Loving parents of all ages and ethnicities do it — and mothers are just as likely to do it as fathers. It has happened to a a dentist, a loving social worker, a postal clerk, and a Veterinarian. It even happened to a minister of music in a church parking lot.

I am 100% guilty of having judged these individuals to be monsters by all accounts. Anytime I would hear a tragic story about a child losing their life in a hot car I would instantly think to myself —”Those parents need to be shot”. I feel awful for having ignorantly assumed that this could only happen to bad, unfit parents — people who were neglecting their children to imbibe in alcohol and drugs— never once did I consider that such a tragedy could occur to loving, doting parents who were deceived by a tragic lapse in their memory.

I thank God for putting this article in front of me, which subsequently led me to this MIND-BLOWING article which opened up my ignorant, closed-minded eyes to the fact that this actually IS a problem in our society, forever changing my perspective. Initially I felt so guilty for having judged — but then I realized that only made ME feel better — the only true redemption of my guilt can come through vigilant awareness in helping make individuals be aware of this danger.

I don’t care WHO you are – this tragedy can happen to anyone

Continue reading

One week before graduation…

From Innocent to Incarcerated (In just one night)

Too young to drink. Too dumb not to drive.

Nathan Gentry’s parents will not be watching him walk at Brownsburg High School’s graduation ceremony this Friday, nor will they experience the proud joy of dropping him off at Indiana University this fall to begin the next chapter of his life. Instead, Nathan’s parents will have to close a chapter in their lives when they lay Nathan to rest today.

Just one week before graduation, Nathan was killed in an auto accident that also put four of his friends in the hospital.

What’s even more tragic is the confirmation that alcohol and marijuana were both factors in a devastating ending to a promising young life, something that could have should have been prevented. This is a tragic reminder of  the consequences of drinking and driving — particularly when you have a novice driver who by all accounts is also a novice drinker.

Car accidents due to inexperienced driving is understandable as well as somewhat unavoidable — it’s simply a fact of life than can be tolerated.  But when a driver decides to get behind the wheel with distractions, booze and selfish decisions their car becomes a “loaded weapon” — is intolerable and 100% preventable.

Teens are at far greater risk of death in an alcohol-related crash than the overall population, despite the fact that they are below the minimum drinking age in every State. Among 15- to 20-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2006, 31 percent of the drivers who were killed had been drinking and 77 percent of these drivers were unrestrained. 1

Graduation season is upon us, which means parents need to step up their game and talk their teens about alcohol.

It’s not just good parenting — it’s a matter of life and death. While I don’t condone underage drinking, the reality is that it’s going to happen — something I am personally guilty of.   While my mom didn’t support the idea of underage drinking, but the woman also wasn’t an idiot.  What was most important to my mom was to make me aware that if I drank she wouldn’t necessarily ring my neck…unless I made the piss poor decision to get behind the wheel.  She instilled in me that a parents anger over their child’s reckless decisions is generated solely out of love and protection, rather than just trying to be mean.  I credit my mom’s realistic approach to the dangers she knew I would face  as the reason I survived my teenage years. (Thanks mom!)

Parental responsibility to underage drinking


Sure, talking to your teen isn’t easy — but then again, neither is saving lives

Set the standards by talking to your teen about safety issues and the rules that you are setting. Explain each one of your rules and the consequences for breaking it.  Some guidelines should include:

  • Defining acceptable behavior – Different approaches work for different families, chose what works for your family and what you think will resonate with your teen
  • Setting clear consequences for their actions – Lay out a clear message of what your expectations are, and lay out a clear message of the consequences if those expectations aren’t met
  • Be aware of personal liability – While your teen’s safety is the driving factor in this effort, it is important for them to know the legal ramifications as well.  Additionally,  it is also important for adults to also be aware of  the social host liability risks.

Communicate with your teen freely and frequently —  constant communication is the most important factor in helping keep your teen safe!

If you live in Indiana and would like to discuss your insurance with me Click Here.

Further Reading:

Source:

1. NHTSA Teen Drivers | Access to Alcohol