Focus on child safety when driving on neighborhood streets
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[August 23, 2013]
SPRINGFIELD -- The Office of the
State Fire Marshal encourages Illinois residents to take a proactive
step to ensure the safety of children by driving at a slower speed
on neighborhood streets. At the start of a new school year, it is
imperative for drivers to slow down, obey traffic signals and
respect speed limits around schools and residential streets where
children often play.
This echoes the message of the national campaign called Keep Kids
Alive, Drive 25. The goal of this program is to remind drivers to
lower their speed to 25 mph in residential areas and in school
"Speeding in residential neighborhoods represents a threat to our
children's safety," said Larry Matkaitis, state fire marshal. "We
ask that drivers be more conscious about lowering their speed while
driving in residential communities in an effort to help keep our
Running stop signs and speeding in residential neighborhoods are
the greatest complaints by residents to police departments. This
represents a serious threat to public safety, not only for children
but also for adults and seniors. Many drivers tend to ignore speed
limit signs and are often caught driving between 40 to 50 mph in
residential areas and around schools.
The Office of the State Fire Marshal also reminds parents to obey
state laws that require the use of seat belts for adults and
children while driving or riding in a vehicle and the use of car
seats for infants and children. In addition, the public is reminded
that in Illinois it is prohibited to text while driving.
Last Friday, the state fire marshal commended Gov. Pat Quinn for
signing two new laws aimed at reducing the number of accidents
caused by distracted drivers in Illinois. One law prohibits the use
of all hand-held mobile phones while driving, and the second
increases the penalties when any use of an electronic device while
driving has been the cause of an accident. These new laws take
effect Jan. 1, 2014.
Distracted drivers were the main cause of 387,000 injuries and
more than 3,000 fatalities across the country in 2011, according to
the U.S. Department of Transportation.
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The following are additional tips to keep children safe:
Set limits for your child.
Make sure they have safe places to play. The street is not one
Always know where
your child is. Children under 7 must always be accompanied
by an adult outside. Know who they're with and where they are.
Make sure your
children are buckled up or secured in the proper child safety
seat. Lead by example by always wearing your seat belt.
Teach your child
to cross the street correctly. Tell them to always use the
nearest crosswalk when available, and to stop, look both ways
and make sure the road is clear.
Make your child wear the proper helmet
and pads when riding a bike, scooter, skateboard or skating.
For more information about children's safety, visit the Keep Kids
Alive, Drive 25 website at
Office of the State Fire
Marshal news release
received from the
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]