MEDIA CONTACT:  Julie Willmot
(609) 278-7137

TRENTON, N.J. - Schools will soon be back in session, and Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes is taking this opportunity to remind motorists to practice constant vigilance on the road, particularly during the morning and afternoon, when children walk to and from school. It should be noted that many roadways that pass in front of schools have special speed limits that apply during the school day, which must be respected.

From 2000-2009, an average of 355 pedestrian fatalities and 15,500 injuries among children ages 14 and under occurred each year, according to Safe Kids USA. Drivers should be aware that extra precautions are absolutely necessary when children are present.

Because children are small, they not only sustain more severe injuries when struck by a vehicle, but are more likely to occupy the blind spot in front of a car. They are often distracted or occupied with other things.

It should not be taken for granted that kids always notice a vehicle coming toward them. The ability to recognize and avoid oncoming objects may feel instinctive, but according to the Association for Psychological Science, “it’s actually a complex skill, requiring a rapid calculation of size and distance and velocity. … New evidence is now showing that kids’ perceptual abilities are slow to develop, making them less adept at this crucial calculation.”  For this reason, it is especially important to drive slowly and cautiously.

“In this age of interconnectedness, many may feel tempted to use cell phones or other devices on the road, but distracted driving and speeding can lead a motorist to ruin a life – or end it,” Hughes said. “Every child has the right to walk to school. Please do your part to keep Mercer County’s most vulnerable residents out of harm’s way.”