BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — When kids are walking to school, they’re probably focused on excitement for the day ahead of them but with more children crossing our streets, the roadways can become dangerous.
"In the summer months, there‘s not as many pedestrian accidents but they rise significantly here in Bakersfield, 200%, when our kids return back to school," said Jacoby & Meyers managing partner Michael Akiva.
Akiva said back-to-school season is an especially important time to talk about child safety on our streets.
“At our firm, 20% of our pedestrian accidents involve minor children here in Bakersfield," said Akiva.
But he said that doesn’t mean it’s always the students’ fault.
“Part of it’s more kids in the streets, higher traffic, but a part of it is just driver inattention," said Akiva.
Right turns at crosswalks can be tricky spots. Drivers may be more focused looking to the left for oncoming traffic versus looking for pedestrians. When kids are walking to school, parents can talk with them about being mindful of cars turning right before they cross the street.
Akiva said in addition to having those preventative talks with their children, parents can also use the Transportation Injury Mapping System created by UC Berkeley.
“You can actually enter in your school that you want your child to walk to and it will show you a 2-3 mile radius around it where there have been pedestrian accidents and you can have your child avoid those intersections," said Akiva.
And as for drivers, be aware and alert. Keep an eye out for kids trying to cross before moving forward or making a turn.
Akiva said when we’re all cautious, we can avoid disaster for students using our crosswalks to get to school.
"These are unfortunate accidents that are super avoidable with just a little bit of planning and forethought," he said.
Starting the new school year on a safe note.