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Back to Archives | Back to September 2004 Contents 

Highway Safety Initiatives

Back to School, Safely

By Patricia Cahill, Executive Director, IACP Foundation; Strategic Plan Administrator, IACP; and Advisor, National Law Enforcement Challenge Program

very summer, every holiday season, and during every national mobilization, you find it's time to intensify your agency's attention to traffic safety issues. But the key to an effective, results-oriented traffic safety plan is integrating enforcement activities into routine patrol. The successful department recognizes, encourages, and actively supports the efforts of officers who continually make such issues as speed reduction and belt enforcement a priority.

In shaping your traffic safety program, it is critical to remember that most crashes are not accidents; they are quite often predictable and preventable. Every law enforcement agency should make the most of the tools available to them to predict and prevent the crashes that cause the thousands of injuries and deaths in our communities. By analyzing crash data, establishing education programs, and emphasizing enforcement events and locations, every department can change in the driving behavior of its citizens.

Speed still kills and seat belts still save lives, every day and in every jurisdiction.

School Bus
Photos © 1995 PhotoDisc, Inc.
School Is in Session
During the school year, highways and secondary roads experience a dramatic increase in school bus, passenger car, and pedestrian traffic. To help get your neighborhoods and school districts off to a safe start this year, consider these two kick-off events as ways to engage your community in traffic and pedestrian safety:

International Walk to School Week runs from Monday, October 4, through Friday, October 8, 2004. Each year, millions of children, parents, teachers, and neighborhood leaders work together during this campaign to emphasize the importance of cultivating and maintaining walkable communities. This year, Wednesday, October 6, marks International Walk to School Day, sponsored by the Partnership for a Walkable America (PWA).

According to the PWA, almost 25,000 child pedestrians are injured by motor vehicles annually. PWA promotes the four Es of pedestrian safety:

  • Education: programs used to teach children safe walking behaviors

  • Encouragement: public service announcements and incentive programs to support safe pedestrian traffic

  • Enforcement: aggressive enforcement of posted speeds and traffic laws

  • Engineering: design and construction of roadways, sidewalks, lighting, and signs that enhance the safety of pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers

For more information about International Walk to School Day, please visit (

Stop sign
Photos © 1995 PhotoDisc, Inc.
National School Bus Safety Week, October 17-23, 2004, is sponsored by the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT). NAPT emphasizes the child's role in staying safe by reminding youngsters to follow such simple rules as "Stand at least five giant steps from the edge of the road" and " Walk at least 10 giant steps past the bus and wait for the driver's signal before crossing." The centerpiece of the week is a national poster contest where thousands of schoolchildren in more than 40 states compete to create artwork that encourages and promotes school bus safety.

In addition to educating kids about their role in school bus safety, National School Bus Safety Week represents an ideal opportunity for law enforcement to partner with schools and to engage and inform the motoring public about school bus safety.

For more information, and to download NAPT's resource guide and activity booklet, please visit ( ■



From The Police Chief, vol. 71, no. 9, September 2004. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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