NHTSA 11-06
Wednesday, October 4, 2006
Contact: Rae Tyson
Telephone: (202) 366-9550

NHTSA Administrator Nicole R. Nason Kicks Off
International Walk to School Month

The nation’s top safety official today called on parents and communities nationwide to help improve the safety of children and teenagers while they walk to and from school.

Kicking off “International Walk to School Month” at Skinner Road Elementary School in Vernon, Connecticut, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Administrator Nicole R. Nason used the event to highlight the benefits of walking to and from school

“At the turn of the 20th Century, walking to school was commonplace throughout the United States. At the turn of the 21st Century, we need to make sure families and communities have the resources and knowledge to encourage safe walking programs for our kids,” Nason said.

This year over 3,500 schools in all 50 states, including seven in Connecticut, are voluntarily participating in International Walk to School day on October 4. Nason noted that for the first time, the entire month of October has been designated as Walk to School Month in the United States.

While the benefits of walking to school are numerous, Nason said there is a safety risk. In 2005, 275 pedestrian children (ages 5-15) were killed and 15,000 were injured. “We need to continue to educate pedestrians and motorists alike about traffic safety practices while we work to provide friendly walking environments across America,” she said.

The U.S. Department of Transportation and NHTSA, along with state and local governments, are working together to protect pedestrians of all ages through the implementation of various “traffic calming” strategies, such as speed bumps, speed dips, speed tables, and traffic circles. NHTSA also provides educational materials to communities, schools, parents and other interested parties to foster pedestrian safety and motorist awareness programs.

Schools, parents and communities can learn more about NHTSA’s Walk to School program on the website, http://www.walktoschool.org/index.cfm.