As Families Prepare for Back to School, Teens Across the Country Call for Safer Routes to School
New Report Shows Majority of Students Don’t Feel Safe at Intersections Near Their Schools
As parents are getting their children ready to head back to class, Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) and State Farm™ are announcing the results of their new report showing that 73% of students don’t feel safe at the intersections near their school.
These results come from an analysis of data collected by students as part of a “Teen Road Safety Assessment” initiative (Teen RSA), led by FCCLA and funded by State Farm to empower youth to take an active role in advocating for traffic safety in and around their schools.
More than 1,000 students in 71 schools in 22 states across the country conducted Teen RSAs last school year to examine potential roadway and intersection dangers near their schools and reported their results to FCCLA. The results show that youth feel roadway safety measures need to be taken in communities across the nation now.
Highlights of the report findings include:
- 40% of schools reported that their school pedestrian crosswalks were not painted properly (29 out of 71)
- 47% of schools reported that their crosswalk signals did not allow an adequate amount of time to safely cross the street (34 out of 71)
- Only 9% of schools reported having crossing guards at intersections (7 out of 71)
- Only 19% of areas near schools were properly marked as school zone areas (14 out of 71)
“Engaging with youth about road safety is imperative to ensuring that students feel safe as they prepare for the start of the 2017-2018 school year,” said Sandra Spavone, executive director of FCCLA. “Now that these students have observed first-hand the potential dangers at these intersections, they are asking their communities to protect them by making the intersections safer.”
One such example comes from Union High School in the small town of Big Stone Gap, Virginia. After conducting an RSA, the local FCCLA chapter used the information they collected to advocate for infrastructure change. As a direct result of these student-led efforts, installation of a roundabout near their school was completed last week, just in time for the new school year.
“Conducting the Teen RSA reinforced what we thought to be a safety issue impacting our community,” said Madison Collins (17), high school student and president of the Union High School FCCLA chapter. “We had several traffic challenges that needed to be addressed near our school that resulted in a very dangerous, high-risk area for students, parents, and buses full of children.”
After months of additional research and outreach, students at Union High School felt that they were able to demonstrate that their community met federal guidelines for a new traffic solution near their school. Virginia Department of Transportation representatives, who were helping the students with their project, were able to find funding for, design, and construct an affordable traffic infrastructure solution: a roundabout.
“I’m proud to say that students in Big Stone Gap, VA, are heading back to school this year with new traffic safety infrastructure in place to help keep our community safe,” said Collins. “We have already been working to educate the students and the public about how to safely navigate the new roundabout.”
As part of the Teen RSAs, students worked with their local State Farm agents, law enforcement, and members of their community to observe and track details such as the number of lanes on the roadways near their schools; adherence of the speed limit; crosswalk safety, including lighting and pavement conditions; pedestrian countdown signals; seat belt use of passing motorists and passengers; and hand-held cell phone use and other distractions of drivers.
“We are always seeking ways to ensure the safety of families sharing the roads, especially traveling to school,” said Lisa Joyce, Public Affairs Specialist with State Farm. “The teen road safety assessments have encouraged connections between local youth and State Farm agents at the grassroots level to help make teens and their family members safer drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.”
To follow the Teen RSA initiative on social media, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter using the handle @nationalfccla and search for #TeenRSA.
An electronic version of this press release as well as additional information on the Teen RSA program can be found at http://fcclainc.org/programs/teenRSA/.
The collaboration between Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) and State Farm provides many opportunities for promoting safety attitudes that can last a lifetime among youth. The Teen RSAs are part of Families Acting for Community Traffic Safety (FACTS), FCCLA’s national program underwritten by State Farm. FACTS helps students implement traffic safety efforts in their local communities focusing on three areas – safe drivers, safe cars, and safe roads.
For more information on FCCLA’s traffic safety programs, please visit http://fcclainc.org/programs/factsfamilies-acting-for-community-traffic-safety.php.
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