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Health & Parenting

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Few Drivers Slow Down in School Zones, Study Finds

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To address this problem, SAFE KIDS has joined with FedEx Express to spread the word and to educate children, parents, and motorists about pedestrian safety. FedEx volunteers, community leaders, parents, and schools also will form local pedestrian task forces to develop "traffic-calming measures" in hopes of making streets more walkable.

But motorists beware. In at least 30 localities, the campaign also will target drivers.

"We'll be giving out a whole bunch of tickets," confirms Charles Ramsey, chief of the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department, where authorities are planning to more aggressively enforce school-zone speed limits. Using modern enforcement techniques such as stationary radar guns equipped with cameras, police are prepared to give teeth to the SAFE KIDS campaign, Ramsey says.

"Drivers need to be aware that exceeding the speed limits not only puts our children at risk, but is against the law and will not be tolerated," Ramsey says. "This isn't a request; we are demanding that you pay attention."

Still, most drivers probably just need a wake-up call, Paul says. Motorists tend to forget that driving is a privilege that should be exercised with caution, rather than a right that can be exercised with impunity, she tells WebMD.

SAFE KIDS has launched the campaign at 40 schools across the nation, Paul says, and also has enlisted the help of local officials to implement additional solutions, including adding new traffic lights and crosswalks. The education campaign, Paul says, will focus on injury-prevention strategies, such as ensuring that children obey traffic signals, walk instead of run, and cross streets only when accompanied by a responsible party.

But in the end, "We have got to remember that drivers do not rule the road," she tells WebMD. "Our first responsibility is to pedestrians."

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