TUCSON – International Walk to School Day is Oct. 10, but Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) will be on fall break then, so they are celebrating Wednesday.
It used to be pretty common for kids to walk to school, but in today’s world, many parents say they drive their kids because it is just too dangerous.
Safe Kids Pima County Coordinator, Jessica Mitchell, says this day is important to promote pedestrian safety.
“We really want to educate kids and their parents on basic pedestrian safety tips,” said Mitchell. “A lot of parents don’t understand that kids don’t realize how to judge that depth perception or speed until they’re 10 years old.”
She says walking to school promotes a healthier lifestyle, but it can be dangerous. Every single day in the U.S., more than 40 kids are killed or injured by cars.
“I don’t think the world is as safe as it used to be when I was walking to school,” said Mitchell. “There are a lot more cars on the road and kids are little, they’re fast, and sometimes us as drivers we can’t see the kid and if the kid doesn’t know what they need to be doing on their end.”
That is why they work all year to teach kids how to walk to school safely. Mitchell recommends parents walk with their kids until they are 10 years old and as parents are walking them, teach them to look left, right and then left again when crossing the street.
Also, she says to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street and to put their phones down.
“We want kids to have earphones out of their ears, we don’t want kids texting while they’re crossing the roads,” Mitchell said. “Because it’s a two-way street… the pedestrian needs to be watching what the driver is doing and the driver needs to be watching for the pedestrian. They need to know that they’ve seen each other.”
Walking also reduces traffic congestion and pollution.
Whitmore Elementary School students, parents and teachers will gather at Ft. Lowell Park on Glenn and Craycroft at 7:45 and then walk to school together.
The Tucson Police Department will escort them to school.
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