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ABCUSD Launches Campaign to Improve Pedestrian Safety

Every hour a pedestrian is killed or injured in California -- the ABC Unified School District wants to help change that.

In an effort to curtail deadly traffic collisions involving pedestrians, the has launched a new public education campaign entitled "It's Up to All of Us" to help encourage students and their families create a safer environment for pedestrians. 

The campaign will use the school district's website and community outreach to promote messages that focus on reducing pedestrian injuries and fatalities.

In 2009, pedestrians accounted for nearly one out of every five traffic collision deaths in California -- roughly more than the national average, according to ABCUSD.

For motorists, the campaign stresses the message, "Drive Like Our Lives Depend on It." For pedestrians, they will be asked to "Stay Alert - Stay Alive." In general, the entire community is being asked to slow down and not be distracted to help keep everyone safe.

"We realize with summer here, ABC students will be out riding bikes, walking and playing outdoors. This campaign reminds everyone to take an extra moment so that everyone stays safe," said Dr. Mary Sieu, incoming district superintendent.

As part of the districtwide campaign, every student in the local schools recently received bookmarks outlining the safety tips. Every ABC class also received a poster with similar safety messages. Additionally, retiring Superintendent Dr. Gary Smuts made the campaign's theme a highlight during his annual "Walk for Reading" event on June 1.

Promoting a Safer Environment

Motorists Should Slow Down
An important facet of the campaign focuses on encouraging people to walk more often and feeling safe doing so by providing concrete reminders about actions that promote a safer environment, such as urging motorists to slow down. According to research, as speeds increase, so does the percentage of fatalities.

"Only about five percent of pedestrians are likely to be killed when struck at 20 mph, whereas nearly 80 percent of pedestrians are likely to be killed when struck at 40 mph," according to a district statement.

Being an Alert Pedestrian
The campaign also focuses on pedestrian alertness by urging pedestrians to: 

  • not text or talk on the phone when crossing streets
  • look both ways when crossing streets
  • always look up and never assume they are seen by motorists

"If even one life is saved or one tragedy is averted due to our efforts, we will have been successful," said Dr. Sieu.

The ABCUSD serves nearly 22,000 students and 30 school sites. The "It's Up to All of US" campaign is funded through a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

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