Back-To-School Traffic Safety – It’s No Accident! By Tom Everson
On May 3rd, 2006, 8 year-old Shaye Martin was on walking on the sidewalk to Eugenia B. Thomas Elementary School in Miami. A few blocks from his destination he was struck and killed by a speeding motorist.
We hear the word “Accident” often. Anytime a crash occurs or child is hit by a car we hear it referred to as an accident. Yet how many tragedies, like Shaye’s death, are accidents? If a driver exceeds the speed limit on a neighborhood street, or any roadway, and hits a child walking on a sidewalk, crossing the street, or riding a bike, is that an accident?
Driver behavior is crucial to creating a safe environment for everyone using a roadway, or even walking beside it. Controlling speed is no accident. It is a responsibility that helps to insure safety for others and for ourselves. No one wants to be behind the wheel and hit a child, or pedestrian of any age for that matter. Safe driving behavior is no accident. It is a decision we make each time we get behind the wheel.
As school is back in session, the national non-profit Keep Kids Alive Drive 25® is committed to working with communities to involve and educate residents to make neighborhood streets and school zones safer. It takes the commitment of parents, law enforcement, city services, schools, businesses, and city government working together to create safe streets for the benefit of all. Creating safe neighborhood streets and school zones is no accident.
In response to Shaye’s death, his father, Sean Martin, worked directly with Project Citizen at Miami Lakes Middle School to engage students in making a difference in creating safer school zones. As a result, the City initiated a local ordinance to reduce the speed limit entering into school zones. This is the “Shaye Patrick Martin Keep Kids Alive Safety Act.”
The intent of Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 is to be proactive in our efforts in working with and through schools, neighborhood organizations, and local law enforcement and city officials to create safer roadway environments for the benefit of everyone. It should not take the death of a child to wake us up to the opportunity to make a difference today. Many communities begin by integrating Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 into "Safe Routes To Schools" initiatives.
Learn more about how your neighborhood, community, school, business, or civic organization can make a difference in creating safe streets for all. Visit www.KeepKidsAliveDrive25.org or call 402-334-1391.
Tom Everson is Founder and Executive Director of Keep Kids Alive Drive 25®