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Statewide School Vehicle Safety Campaign Underway

A 10-minute video focusing on safety awareness around schools and highlighting the special vulnerability that young children across New Jersey have in crosswalks and while generally walking and riding bikes to and from school is being promoted across the state.

The video, entitled "School Zone - Danger Zone" follows on earlier similar videos, the first being produced after school crossing guards died in Bergen County a few years ago.

The concern and current safety campaign that the video supports is certainly timely, with schools starting back up after Labor Day. Officials note that car accidents involving crossing guards have risen 65 percent over the past decade, and that this figure might likely increase given budget cuts in many municipalities that will undercut safety efforts.

A broad coalition of groups from across New Jersey is working together on the campaign. The team includes the New Jersey Parent Teacher Association, the Division of Highway Traffic Safety, the Brain Injury Association of New Jersey, the State Association of Chiefs of Police and others.

Tactics to increase parents' and other drivers' safety awareness include safety-themed messages sent via letters to homes, by text and e-mail alerts and through neighborhood flyers.

The focus is on acute concentration when driving around kids and schools. "The pace of life for people makes us all just a little bit distracted when we're behind the wheel," say Nutley crossing guards supervisor Linda Buel.

The statistics driving the urgency and tenor of the campaign are sobering. From 2007 through last year, 19 New Jersey children between the ages of five and 15 died in accidents involving a pedestrian and a car, and more than 2,000 were injured.

Related Resource: "State and schools want parents to pay attention to safety when dropping kids off" September 12, 2010

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