ECASD recommends safe routes for kids to help avoid accidents

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- For children getting ready to head back to school it could be one of the most dangerous times of year.

According to Safe Kids Worldwide more cars hit more children at the start of the school year than any other time.

Younger children may be more likely to run out into the street without looking when they're excited, like when school starts, and older kids may be distracted with phones or friends.

However, the Eau Claire School District says by teaching kids safe routes to school may help prevent a tragedy.

"If the safe routes are not used that's where there would be that concern,” said Roosevelt Elementary School Principal, Ben Dallman. “There would be the concern that maybe someone is distracted while they're driving or students are not seen before they jump out, and there's not a whole lot of reaction time available sometimes."

Dallman says it is important for parents to teach their kids the safe routes to school.

"Our school district works closely with the Eau Claire Police Department to identify what some of the routes that aren't as safe or have higher traffic volume, or higher traffic speed," added Dallman. “So, there might be quicker, easier paths for kids to take there but it's just really important to us that our kids are using those safe routes.”

In partnership with safe routes to school program Eau Claire transportation engineer Leah Ness says the city is working on a grant to improve area streets.

"It would reduce the crossing of a street to help with the width of pedestrian crossings on the streets and also doing sidewalk connections, making connections between sidewalks that currently don't exist," Ness explained.

Ness says the grant would help create a safer and healthier community.

She added, "We really want to provide a walk-able community, a way for students and community members get from one place to another and having that connectivity with the sidewalks really helps."

The school district also say drivers should be mindful of school zones and kids waiting at bus stops.

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