Two million reasons to ‘Take Care, Be Aware’ for Back to School
ODOT Safety Effort aims to reduce 1,802
School Bus Accidents last year
COLUMBUS (August 25, 2009) - With most of the state’s more than two million school-aged children heading back to school this time of year, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) wants motorists to Take Care, Be Aware of the buses and children returning to the state’s roadways – especially during morning rush hour.
ODOT’s expert analysis of statewide traffic data shows that 1,828 crashes on Ohio roadways last year involved schools buses, including ten fatalities.
In addition to school buses returning to the roads, more parents will be back in route to school. In Ohio, it’s estimated that only half of school-aged children ride a bus to school, but a growing number of students are often driven to school in a private vehicle.
Numbers from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration show that as much as 25 percent of typical morning rush hour traffic is school-related. That’s one out of every four cars on the road each weekday morning heading to school or day care.
For the upcoming back to school season, ODOT will feature its Take Care, Be Aware safety message at several locations across the state, including some of the state’s 110 rest areas and travel information centers.
ODOT is also partnering with the nation’s largest retailer Walmart, which has posted the Take Care, Be Aware safety message at ten of its largest stores in Ohio and at its four Ohio distribution centers. Walmart’s truck drivers have been routinely recognized with a safest fleet award by the Ohio Trucking Association, a group of more than 1,100 trucking companies in the state.
Safer routes to school lead to fewer accidents. Over the past two years, ODOT’s Safe Routes to School program has awarded nearly $8 million to communities across the state for school crossing signals, sidewalks, educational materials and school travel plans.
Safety is most important in designated school zones, where traffic speeds are reduced to protect all students arriving at school. However, school zones have been the site of more than 1,300 crashes over the past four years. Two people have been killed in school zone accidents - one of them a crossing guard. In all, more than 500 students and adults have been injured in accidents in school zones from 2005 through 2008.
For more information on how to keep children safe on their way to school, check out ODOT’s Safe Routes to School Program Website. The updated website offers safety messages for students and drivers, as well as information for local communities on receiving state grants.
For more information, contact Nancy Burton, ODOT Communications, at (614) 205-3131
or your local ODOT District Communications Office.