How much do your teens know about pedestrian safety?

Every hour in the United States, a teen pedestrian is injured or killed after being hit by a car.

That’s a scary number for the parent of a teenager. Parents and teens are already dealing with evolving relationships and growing independence, and adding another level of traveling safety can seem daunting. Talking to your teen about walking safety can reduce your teen’s risk for serious injury by a motor vehicle.

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SafeKids Worldwide, with the support of Federal Express, surveyed 1,040 teens ages 13 to 18 to learn about their walking behaviors and experiences as pedestrians.

  • Of the teens surveyed, 40 percent said they have been hit or almost hit by a car, bike or motorcycle while walking.
  • When asked about the reason they were hit or almost hit:
    • 24 percent said the driver was going too fast.
    • 13 percent said they didn’t look properly.
    • 10 percent said the driver wasn’t paying attention.
  • Many teens who said they were hit or almost hit reported being distracted while crossing the street:
    • 47 percent by listening to music
    • 18 percent by texting
    • 20 percent by talking on the phone
  • Half the teens surveyed reported walking in the dark at least sometimes. This is a frightening statistic, given that 75 percent of teen pedestrian deaths happen between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.

You can help teens stay safe while walking by encouraging them to follow these safe walking habits:

  • Put down phones and headphones when crossing the street.
  • Cross at a traffic signal or crosswalk when possible, and make eye contact with drivers before crossing.
  • Be especially alert when it’s dark out, and make sure you’re visible to drivers.

Take action against distraction: The Moment of Silence campaign

On Halloween morning in 2012, 15-year-old Christina Morris-Ward was killed while crossing the street just two blocks from her high school. Christina was wearing headphones and looking down at her phone when an oncoming car hit her in the middle of an intersection. In honor of Christina and other teens who are injured and killed each year while crossing the street, take the Moment of Silence pledge to put down your mobile device when crossing the street. Watch the video and take the pledge at safekids.org.

Kohl’s Cares High Five Prevention Program

In partnership with SafeKids Louisville, the Kohl’s Cares High Five Prevention Program works to provide parents and kids with tips on staying safe while walking to school, the park or a friend’s house. By following four simple steps, you can help ensure everyone gets where they are going safely:

  • Teach kids safe pedestrian habits from the beginning, including using crosswalks, putting down devices and making eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
  • Let your actions speak as loudly as your words. Set a good example by following pedestrian safety basics.
  • Drive with extra care. As a driver, be alert, given pedestrians the right of way and put away distractions.
  • Take action against distraction. Put electronic devices down when crossing the street, be aware of others who are distracted and speak up, stop walking and find a safe area if you need to use a cellphone, and take off headphones before crossing the street.


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