With thousands of children across Connecticut returning to school this week, AAA and police said they are concerned for their safety due to hazards that come with electronic distractions.
As a result, AAA put out a reminder on Monday to remind drivers that school is open and to drive carefully.
A recent study by AAA found that people in almost all age groups believe texting or emailing while driving is a serious threat to their safety and yet more than a third admit to doing it.
An analysis done by AAA found that the afternoon hours are particularly dangerous for walking children. Over the last decade, a third of children pedestrian fatalities happened between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
"Both drivers and pedestrians are distracted like never before, making that message more important than ever,” said Amy Parmenter, AAA spokesperson.
New Britain Police Chief James Wardwell said he can't think of anything more important in his profession than keeping children safe.
“By working together and driving safely we each contribute to protecting all the children of the community as a new school year begins," Wardwell said.
AAA joined with police in encouraging parents to put down their phones and set a good example for their children.
“It’s a teaching moment,” Parmenter said. “'Do as I say, not as I do,' is not an effective lesson plan."
AAA urged drivers to slow down in school and residential zones, obey traffic signs, stay alert, watch out for children between parked vehicles, watch for clues that children maybe nearby, always stop for school buses, allot extra travel time, review the route, be vigilant during bad weather and use headlights.
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