Road safety for kids this summer can be summed up in one simple statement.

“The roads are for traffic, not pedestrians,” said Danville police Officer Doug Weaver.

Whether headed for the park or playing in their own yard, children must be aware of what they’re doing when near Danville’s sometimes fasting moving city streets.

Weaver, also the school resource officer, heads up the police department’s Friendly Town program in the southeast corner of Lincoln Park. There, buildings, streets, a working traffic light and a railroad crossing help teach students traffic safety, among other lessons.

The program is open to children who have completed kindergarten but not started the fourth grade. It’s an age where many youths are making a transition when it comes to going outside.

For Weaver, the problem of safely crossing the street is something he sees in children and adults alike. But even for the youths who know how to cross safely, there are other things to watch out for.

Especially for younger children, there’s always that potential for cars coming out of a driveway or alley or parking lot, he said. “They still have to watch for cars like that.”

In Vermilion County, more than 20 accidents involving pedestrians were reported in 2007, according to numbers released last year. Six of the victims were children under age 16. Of the total pedestrian accidents, one resulted in a death, while the remain-der all suffered injuries — mostly moderate to mild.

The circumstances surrounding the accidents ranged from three children playing in the street to the kids simply crossing the road. The figures are an increase over totals from five years ago.

There are a number of tips Weaver uses to make sure young people remain pedestrians rather than statistics. The first time-tested tradition — look both ways before crossing the street. Weaver preaches the technique of looking left, right and then left again to confirm the lane someone is stepping into is actually clear.

Parents also should teach their child to cross with the lights and use a corner or intersection, preferably where there is a sign or light to stop traffic.

But high-traffic streets such as North Vermilion are hardly the only place for children to use caution. Slower-moving neighborhood streets pose some of the same dangers for children who are not careful.

“Kids need to stop and check for the cars as well,” he said. “Our drivers don’t always watch for the kids either.

“It’s a two way street.”

Children should be warned not to dart out into the street from in-between parked cars. At only 3 to 4 feet tall, children often-times can’t be seen by drivers until the last second.

Trending Video

Recommended for you