Safe sidewalks and road crossings are a concern for us all. Unfortunately, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has announced at the end of FY13, the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program will be eliminated.
That means no more safe walking projects under this program. If any city in the state wishes to launch a new project, leaders are first going to have to apply under the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) and compete with various other applicants to get the proper funding. These projects, if approved, will result in 80 percent federal funding with a 20 percent local match.
With no sidewalks and no safety projects in the works, our risks for pedestrian accidents in Tuscaloosa and elsewhere — particularly among our youngest walkers — will only increase. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that there were close to 100 pedestrians killed in the state of Alabama in 2011. These fatalities accounted for nearly 10 percent of all traffic accident fatalities throughout the year.
Without such formal programs, it becomes even more important to take the lead in teaching young people about safe walking and bicycling in their neighborhoods. Drivers must remain alert — particularly during the early morning and afternoon hours as students make their way to and from school. Officials with the Tuscaloosa Surgical Center have released some safety tips for kids.
Pedestrian Safety Tips:
-Always look left, right, and then left again before stepping onto the road to cross the street. Keep looking around while crossing.
-Always walk across the street — never run.
-Make sure to obey all traffic signals and signs. Pedestrians are required to follow road laws, too.
-Teach kids at an early age to put down their electronic devices while walking. Distracted walking is a quick way to walk right into an accident.
-Children under the age of 10 should cross the street with an adult.
-Whenever walking on a roadway without a sidewalk, be sure to walk against traffic as far to the left as you can. Remain aware of passing traffic.
-Avoid walking at night. If you have to, carry a flashlight or make sure you’re wearing bright-colored clothing to help motorists to see you better.
-Plan your trip before you head out. Choose the safety route with the safety crossings and sidewalks.
We urge parents, caregivers, educators, traffic safety officials, and advocates to make the most of these pedestrian safety tips to improve the quality of life in their communities.
Did You Know?:
-In the next 2 hours, one pedestrian will die from injuries sustained in a traffic accident.
-On average, roughly 460 people will be treated in the E.R. for traffic-related pedestrian injuries.
-In 2011, close to 50 percent of all fatal pedestrian accidents, alcohol has been involved either with the driver or the pedestrian.
With no more Safe Routes program, the responsibility of safety is in our hands. It’s unfortunately time to fend for ourselves. Make sure you talk with the walkers in your family to make sure everyone is on the same page. Pedestrians are too vulnerable on our roadways to skip out on safety lessons for our children.
Alabama Railroad Accidents Still a Potential Safety Risk, Alabama Injury Attorneys Blog, October 3, 2013
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