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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

NHTSA Kicks Off “International Walk to School Month”

Over 3,500 Schools are Participating Nationwide

The "International Walk to School Month" recently kicked off at Skinner Road Elementary School in Vernon, Connecticut. The nation's top safety official, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Administrator Nicole R. Nason, called on parents and communities nationwide to increase the safety of children and teenagers while they walk to and from school.

Over 3,500 schools in all 50 states, are willingly participating in International Walk to School day on October 4. For the first time, the entire month of October has been designated as Walk to School Month in the United States.

"At the turn of the 20th Century, walking to school was commonplace throughout the United States," Nason said. "At the turn of the 21st Century, we need to make sure families and communities have the resources and knowledge to encourage safe walking programs for our kids."

Although there are many benefits associated with walking to school, there is a major safety risk. In 2005, there were 275 pedestrian fatalities among children aged 5-15, and 15,000 were injured. "We need to continue to educate pedestrians and motorists alike about traffic safety practices while we work to provide friendly walking environments across America," Nason said.

The U.S. Department of Transportation, the NHTSA, and state and local governments, are all working together to protect pedestrians of all ages by implementing various "traffic calming" strategies, including speed bumps, speed tables, speed dips, and traffic circles. The NHTSA also provides communities, schools, parents and other interested parties with educational materials to promote pedestrian safety and driver education programs.

Schools, parents and communities can learn more about driver education and safety at America's Driver License Headquarters

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