As students head back to class, school zones will become congested with children and traffic. This can be a dangerous, and potentially deadly, combination. Since 1920, AAA School Safety Patrol students have helped their peers get to and from school safely. This tradition continues across North America and in 30 countries as the program marks its 95th anniversary.
The AAA School Safety Patrol started in 1920 and has grown into the largest safety program in the world, with 635,000 Patrollers in 33,500 schools nationwide all wearing the familiar ‘Lectric Lime belts or vests. Galion Intermediate in Galion was one of these registered schools last year.
“Student volunteers assist their classmates at crossings, carpool areas and bus loading and unloading zones,” said Traffic Safety program manager Emma Lindholm. “Patrollers do not direct traffic, but they do help students understand when it is safe to enter roadways.”
Former AAA School Safety Patrol members include Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, as well as several Supreme Court justices, U.S. senators, governors and astronauts.
Keeping Students Safe:
This school year, motorists can help the AAA School Safety Patrol students do their jobs effectively by taking the following steps:
Slow Down: School zone speed limits are set low for a reason. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling 25 mph is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed than a pedestrian stuck by a vehicle traveling just 10 mph faster.
Pay Attention: Cell phones are the leading cause of distraction, but drivers are also distracted by eating, drinking, smoking, grooming, reading and looking or reaching into the back seat.
Come to a Complete Stop: Research shows that more than one-third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods.
Plan Ahead: Traffic is heavier once school is back in session. Drivers should give themselves extra time by leaving early or modifying their routes to avoid school zones and traffic. Remember, driving around a stopped school bus, is dangerous and illegal.
Look for Crossing Guards and AAA School Safety Patrollers: These adults and students stand on corners and near buses and drop off zones. Their presence is a sure sign that child pedestrians are nearby.
AAA supports schools by providing free patrol gear, training and information. Those interested in beginning or expanding a AAA School Safety Patrol Program can contact Emma Lindholm at 614-431-7882 or [email protected].