School bells are ringing throughout the country, as an estimated 55 million children begin another school year.  About 13 percent, or 7-1/2 million children, will walk or ride bicycles to and from school every day.

Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care, a nationwide chain of total auto care centers, cautions motorists to be extra careful, especially during afternoon hours.  Statistics from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that nearly half — 42 percent — of fatalities among pedestrians ages 15 and under occur between 4 and 8 p.m.  The number of pedestrian deaths from traffic crashes has increased over the past six years, the government agency says.

“It’s up to all of us, drivers and parents, to help keep our children safe as they travel to and from school,” said Cottman President Randy Wright.  “We know, from what we do every day, that cars can usually be fixed.  But it can be a very different story — a tragic one — for a child who gets hit by a car.”

School Zone Driving Safety

Cottman offers some simple tips for drivers and for parents to help keep school children safe and avoid tragedy when going back to school:

  1. Follow the speed limit and slow down in and around school zones.  If driving during school travel times, allow extra time to avoid rushing.
  2. Use extra caution near school buses, and always stop when a school bus has its lights flashing or its stop sign raised.  Never pass a stopped school bus if its lights are flashing.  Even once the lights stop flashing and the bus begins to move, be extra careful to watch for children crossing.
  3. Come to complete stop at stop signs and watch for children on sidewalks or near crosswalks.  If in doubt about a child’s intent to cross the street, wait, make eye or verbal contact and, if safe, let him or her cross.
  4. Eliminate distractions when you drive, especially as you drive near schools and through residential neighborhoods.  We all now realize the danger of calling or texting while driving, but other activities like eating, tuning the radio or looking at the GPS system can also take your eyes and your mind off the road, with potentially disastrous results.

Pedestrian Safety

Safety experts encourage parents to remind their children of pedestrian safety tips, including:

  1. Use crosswalks or traffic signals to cross, and always look both ways before entering the street.
  2. Don’t cross from between parked cars, shrubs or other things that might block you from a driver’s view.
  3. If in an area with no sidewalks, walk along the curb facing traffic, which makes you more visible to oncoming drivers.  Always keep an eye on oncoming traffic and don’t use a cellphone or handheld game while walking.
  4. If riding in the street, ride in the same direction as traffic.  Wear a properly-fitted safety helmet.
  5. Wear light colors that can be easily seen by motorists.  If walking at night or in bad weather, wear reflective material or use a flashlight or blinker so you can be more easily seen by drivers.

About Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care:

With locations across the U.S., Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care is a transmission and auto repair company for almost any make or model vehicle, foreign or domestic.  Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care continues to take claim of the growing $250 billion aftermarket auto industry and specializes in complete transmission service, brakes, suspension, air conditioning service and much more.  Cottman is based in Horsham, Pa.  For more information, please visit