August means the end of summer and the start of a new school year. This is also the time of year when there is an increase in the number of pedestrians and vehicles traveling on the roadways. Children will be walking or biking to school in our neighborhoods, some of them for the first time. Parents and teachers will be busy driving to school.
At the same time, waste and recycling collection workers will be sharing the roadways and will be taking added safety precautions to protect students, teachers, and families from harm. Unfortunately, at this time of year, with distracted drivers and increased activity on roadways, school-zone accidents increase significantly. Approximately 100 children in the United States are killed every year while walking to or from school, and another 25,000 children sustain injuries as a result of school zone accidents.
Members of the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA), the waste and recycling industry at large and our partner organizations want to move the needle on this increase in collisions, injuries and fatalities. For this reason, more than 70 percent of the industry and our friends at AAA, will come together for a week long effort to raise awareness and promote education to help reduce these incidents.
NWRA’s Stand Down on Back to School Safety will provide information and guidance material to address: driver distractions, benchmarked successful practices and operations planning for waste and recycling collectors. These efforts aim to increase safety in school zones and bus stops around them. Kids aren’t as cognizant of school-zone and bus stop safety and traffic laws as adults are. And, the fact is that many adults aren’t clear either. To help parents and children prevent injuries and accidents, our Stand Down toolkit includes content on walking and biking risk assessments to better plan their path to school. NWRA’s Stand Down will partner with other safety organizations to communicate to youth groups, pedestrians, employers and drivers of all ages. Together we will promote our shared commitment to the safety and well-being of our communities during this back to school season and beyond.
Participating in the Stand Down is free and can be customized to your needs. For more information and to register to receive NWRA Back To School Stand Down materials, please visit here.
Anthony Hargis is the national safety director for the National Waste & Recycling Association