NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Walking to school is healthy and “green.”
It’s also getting safer. Accident rates for school-age pedestrians have been dropping in recent years.
So you might be surprised where CBS 2’s Don Dahler found that kids can be most at risk: in school zones.
At least two children have been killed by cars in school zones since the start of the school year. And Dahler watched as car after car sped through school zones at double and even triple the speed limit.
It’s something Nassau County Police Officer Steve Lincoln said sees all too often.
“You’re doing 48 in a 20 mph school zone,” Lincoln said to one driver.
One school zone on Long Island clearly states 20 mph, but almost every driver Dahler saw was speeding.
One driver was going double the speed limit. Another was going even faster.
It’s a nationwide problem.
More than 100 children are killed every year while walking to and from school. About 25,000 are injured.
“My head smashed on the hood, then it bounced off and smashed on the cement,” school zone accident victim Kevin Motley said.
Motley was hit by a driver speeding through a school zone and knocked unconscious. He spent three weeks in a coma.
“You have to be more aware and that’s why they put into effect 20 mph, so you can react,” said Motley’s mother, Lynette Moore.
Just how important is it to obey the speed limit in a school zone?
Consumer reports showed Dahler at their test track. At 20 mph it took 23 feet to stop. A cone marks the spot as we increase the speed to 30 mph. In that scenario, the stopping distance is 41 feet, and the car plowed right over that cone.
And at 40 mph, it took a whopping 68 feet until the car came to a stop.
As for Motley, he suffered a serious brain injury. His mom successfully fought for a new traffic signal where we was hit, but said she still sees speeders at the spot every day.
“If I could hire someone to stand at every crosswalk in every school area, I would do it to make sure this never happens to another family again,” Moore said.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a crash at 30 mph is eight times more likely to kill a pedestrian than a 20-mph crash.