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School Safety Study: Children Are In Dire Need Of Protection From Traffic

Noah BudnickNoah Budnick

Around Most U.S. Schools, Driver Behavior Is Not Improving

With 57-million kids going back to school across the country, California-based Zendrive released its annual School Safety Snapshot today. We aim to help parents, students and community leaders ensure that every child goes to and from school without incident, injury or worse due to dangerous drivers.  Our data scientists analyzed driver behavior around over 125,000 elementary, middle and high schools in the United States (90-percent of schools) and then issued a traffic safety score to each school.

Comparing data from the 2018 study to the 2017 School Safety Snapshot, we found that there was no improvement in driver behavior around 90-percent of the schools in the country. In fact, 30-percent of the schools saw driver behavior get worse.

Our report found that school location and street design are strong factors in the amount of risky driving nearby. Nationwide, schools in rural areas generally have safer drivers than in cities; however, schools near big streets like arterials, state highways and interstates are plagued by dangerous traffic. Of the ten schools with the most dangerous traffic in the country, nine are in rural areas and adjacent to big scary streets. Nationwide, cities generally, with their density and higher competition for road space, saw more risky driver behavior than rural areas.

Shockingly, traffic crashes are the number one cause of injury death for school-aged children in the country, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is unacceptable.

“As parents, caregivers and members of our school communities, we have the ability to make the trip to and from school safe,” said Zendrive’s CEO, co-founder and new father, Jonathan Matus. “To prevent these crashes, injuries and fatalities, we need to prevent the driver behaviors that contribute to them, and to manage these behaviors, we need to measure them. With the School Safety Snapshot, Zendrive aims to empower communities to do this.”

Anyone can look up their school, community or state on Zendrive’s interactive school safety map. There they will find their school’s grade, and its local ranking. In the coming weeks, we will add more data, like the amount of driver phone use and speeding around each school.  To read our detailed analysis of traffic safety around schools, download our white paper here.

The 2018 School Safety Snapshot looked at 10.5-billion-miles of data from the United States, driven by 9.1-million anonymous drivers, who took 1-billion trips in April 2018. Data scientists looked at risky events that occurred within one-quarter mile of 125,703 schools across the country.

 

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Noah Budnick is the Director of Public Policy & Government Affairs for Zendrive. He introduced the “Vision Zero” concept to the U.S., which posits that all traffic deaths and serious injuries are preventable. As part of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s transition team, he helped develop the first Vision Zero policy in America. Noah has championed policies to improve communities through the introduction of safe city speed limits, protected bike lanes and “play streets." He also conducted the first U.S. research to demonstrate the “safety in numbers” effect – that increased numbers of walkers and bikers lead to fewer casualties. Before Zendrive, Noah served as Executive Director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and Deputy Director of Transportation Alternatives in NYC. His roots in active transportation go back to high school, where he convinced his physical education teachers to let him start a mountain biking club in lieu of going to gym class.

Noah Budnick is the Director of Public Policy & Government Affairs for Zendrive. He introduced the “Vision Zero” concept to the U.S., which posits that all traffic deaths and serious injuries are preventable. As part of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s transition team, he helped develop the first Vision Zero policy in America. Noah has championed policies to improve communities through the introduction of safe city speed limits, protected bike lanes and “play streets." He also conducted the first U.S. research to demonstrate the “safety in numbers” effect – that increased numbers of walkers and bikers lead to fewer casualties. Before Zendrive, Noah served as Executive Director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and Deputy Director of Transportation Alternatives in NYC. His roots in active transportation go back to high school, where he convinced his physical education teachers to let him start a mountain biking club in lieu of going to gym class.