As the school year starts up, everything seems to speed up a little bit. There’s not only the usual hustle and bustle to work, but also children and parents heading to and from classes, trying …
As the school year starts up, everything seems to speed up a little bit. There’s not only the usual hustle and bustle to work, but also children and parents heading to and from classes, trying to beat school bells and start times.
But it’s important to try and take your time as more children get out and about on Powell’s streets.
As the Powell Police Department put it in a message last week: “Drivers, please slow down in the school zones and watch for children crossing roads.”
Police noted the speed limit dips to 20 miles per hour around Powell’s schools — “and officers will be out helping to ensure our kids are safe.”
In other words, drivers who don’t slow down risk getting a warning or a ticket. And they’d do well to remember the dangers of trying to use a cellphone while driving (which is also illegal within the City of Powell). A lapse in attention of just a second or two can lead to tragedy, especially since you never know when a child is going to come running out onto a residential route.
Of course, it’s not just drivers who need to be responsible, as vigilance is a two-way street. As the Safe Kids Worldwide puts it, pedestrians should keep their phones down and their heads up, as it’s all too easy to get lost in a text message or app and overlook an oncoming vehicle.
And while drivers are constantly reminded of the critical need to avoid driving while impaired, adults on foot should take that message to heart, too. Nearly a quarter (21%) of the pedestrian-involved crashes that occurred in Wyoming from 2016 to 2020 involved either a driver or a pedestrian who was under the influence of something, the Wyoming Department of Transportation says.
It’s critical to take precautions on our public roadways because the dangers of unsafe driving are very real — and heightened in the case of people on foot or bike.
“Pedestrians and cyclists are considered vulnerable road users due to their high risk of injury if struck by a vehicle,” WYDOT explained in a recent report, noting that both groups have little or no protection from oncoming vehicles.
In 2020, WYDOT says a total of 79 pedestrians were struck and injured by vehicles in Wyoming, along with 36 bicyclists. Eight of those people died — including a Powell man who was hit by a driver who failed to look both ways before making a turn onto the highway. Through June, there had already been four pedestrian-involved fatalities in the state.
Guys, in particular, need to watch out, as men are almost twice as likely to be involved in a pedestrian crash than women — either as a driver or a pedestrian, WYDOT said.
All of the safety tips and warnings may seem a little old hat, particularly given how routine driving can feel. But the fact remains that hopping in your vehicle is one of the most dangerous things you’ll do on a daily basis.
As our streets get a little busier with school children, let’s remember to give our driving the respect and attention it deserves.