Study shows alarming dangers in school zones

Study shows alarming dangers in school zones
Updated: Nov. 2, 2016 at 5:28 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Pedestrian deaths are on the rise - especially among kids and teens - and according to a new study, they may be most at risk while walking in school zones.
Safe Kids Louisville partnered with Safe Kids Worldwide, their study reveals school zones can be unsafe places for students. The research observed 39,000 walkers and 56,000 drivers in school zones and recorded risky behaviors, including distracted walking by students, distracted driving by those dropping off, unsafe speed limits, unmarked crosswalks and limited crossing guards.
"In the last 10 years we used to worry about little kids running out chasing balls and things in the street and getting hit," said Erika Janes from Children's Hospital. "Teen pedestrians are actually our highest fatalities now."
The study said five teens die every week while walking. In the past three years, distracted walking has increased from 1 in 5 to more than 1 in 4 for high school students and from 1 in 8 to 1 in 6 for middle school students.

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The research, "Alarming Dangers in School Zones," is an observational study that recorded middle and high school students crossing the street in a school zone. About 80 percent of students were observed crossing the street in an unsafe manner. Teens who were distracted were most likely to be wearing headphones (44 percent) or texting (31 percent).
In addition to observing walkers, the study also recorded how drivers behaved during drop off and pick up. Nearly 1 in 3 drivers displayed unsafe behaviors that endangered pedestrians, like texting, double parking or blocking a crosswalk.
The key message: "Heads up, phones down."
"The distraction of people walking and driving is a huge issue in our community and it's getting a lot of people hurt," Janes said.
Another issue is parents and children do not follow drop-off and pick-up rules. Many times parents don't want to wait in line so they park elsewhere and students walk over to them. That increases the chances of students being hit.

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