What police want drivers to do over the summer to keep kids safe

Published: May. 26, 2022 at 8:39 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Thousands of students across the Ozarks are starting their summer breaks this week. So that means there will be more kids around parks and in neighborhoods for the next couple of months.

“That’s when the habits that we have as drivers need to be modified,” says Seargent Mike McClure with the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

The Springfield Police Department recommends taking it slow and increasing attention around parks, pools, neighborhoods, and school zones. In the summer of 2020, there were 37 pedestrian fatalities in Missouri, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“We don’t want you to hit a child,” says Cris Swaters with the Springfield Police Department. “We also don’t want you to hit another car or someone else, a pedestrian walking across the street. Paying attention is something that applies all the time.”

That heightened attentiveness extends to your own driveway. According to the organization Kids and Cars, at least 50 children are backed over in the U.S. every week. And 70 percent of those incidents involve a parent or relative. McClure says an easy way to prevent that is to check around your car before you put it into gear.

“Make sure that they’re not just getting in the vehicle and backing out of the driveway,” explains McClure. “We’ve gotta take that extra time to make sure that we have a visual contact of a child who’s playing in the yard if nobody’s immediately around. And if not, if you’ve lost sight of that child, then we need to stop.”

He also says backup cameras aren’t 100 percent reliable. They can have blind spots and glitches, making it difficult to spot a child. McClure’s advice is the same: check around your vehicle before you get in, and then check all of your mirrors and over your shoulder as you are backing up.

“We want to share that information with the other drivers,” explains McClure. “We want to share that information with visitors too. ‘Hey, kids are home, so be careful when you approach the driveway and be careful when you leave.”

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