Every parent wants to keep their kids safe as they go back to school. But motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, and distracted driving is on the rise. The roads around your kid’s school aren’t as safe as you think.
Roughly one in every 11 public schools nationwide is within 500 feet of roads with heavy traffic like highways, putting 4.4 million students in extra danger. On top of that, our recent study revealed 88% of Americans use their phones while driving – definitely a contributor to the one in three drivers showing unsafe pickup or dropoff behavior in school zones. Since distracted driving is a major contributor to traffic deaths, it’s no wonder that last year’s spike in traffic deaths was the biggest in the last fifty years. As kids are increasingly getting to school on foot, bike, and bus, it’s on us to take responsibility for their safety when driving near schools.
Zendrive’s mission is to use data and analytics to make the roads safer, and we’re here to help. We measure driver safety using only phone sensors, and we’ve honed our algorithms with over 30 billion miles of data (and counting!). Thanks to Milliman, the leading actuary in the field, we know our model predicts future collisions six times more accurately than leaders of the industry, which means we can identify both dangerous drivers and dangerous stretches of road.
So we’re introducing the first in a series, and by far the most comprehensive, study of its kind – the Zendrive School Safety Snapshot.
Using our driving safety analytics technology, we mapped out areas around 75,000 schools nationwide and analyzed over 3.4 billion driver miles driven within them, giving us a very broad and accurate safety snapshot of April of 2017. We measured phone use while driving, as well as hard braking and fast acceleration, to get an idea of how safe the roads around schools really are. We came up with safety report cards (A+ through F, of course) for schools, counties, and states across the US.
Here’s what we learned:
For too long, our most vulnerable citizens–children–have been disproportionately killed by motor vehicle crashes. We must do better,” said Congressman Earl Blumenauer. “Communities across the country are embracing Vision Zero and developing better information about the risks people take while driving. We can put this information to use if Congress would pass my legislation to expand Vision Zero grants to communities around the country. We know motor vehicle crashes are mostly preventable, and both you and your kids who drive can take steps to be safer. Here are a few things to do:
1. Share this. If your kid’s school area is unsafe, let other parents and the school board know. Ask if there can be more crossing guards, if the driver’s ed program can be updated, or if the dropoff and pickup rules can be strengthened and better enforced.
2. Have a backup. If you can’t pick up your child during a dangerous hour, find a backup who can. Services like HopSkipDrive in California let you book safe rides for kids. (Get your first ride free with code ZENDRIVE.) And if they’re not available in your area, ask a trusted friend or relative.
3. Take action. Nonprofits like Safe Routes to School National Partnership are working to get support for Vision Zero, a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and serious injuries nationwide. It’s easy to ask your representative to support this initiative.
94% of motor vehicle collisions are from human error. But by working together, we can all make school areas, as well as the rest of the roads, a lot safer.