CHARLOTTE, N.C. (October 1, 2019) – Students across the Carolinas are gearing up to walk to school tomorrow (October 2) for National Walk to School Day. The involvement increases every year– with 178 registered schools in North Carolina and 122 registered schools in South Carolina.
The first National Walk to School Day was held in 1997 and expanded to include biking to school in 2012. The National Center for Safe Routes to School promotes the event for a variety of reasons.
Walking to school allows children to appreciate their surroundings more than they would while riding in a vehicle and allows them to feel a sense of connection with the rest of the community while walking together. The physical activity promotes healthy habits by getting children active. With more students walking to get to school, the automobile traffic is heavily reduced, which cuts back on air pollutants to make our atmosphere cleaner.
Also a traffic safety initiative, the event highlights safe routes for walking in an effort to teach children proper street skills and encourage drivers to pay more attention to pedestrians on the road.
Over the last decade, nearly one-third of child pedestrian fatalities have occurred after school hours between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Approximately 815 students die annually and more than 150,000 are injured during travel between school and home – statistics that do not include special activity trips and other school related journeys.
AAA believes National Walk to School Day is a good time to remind motorists of these tips for sharing the road:
- Wait your turn (It is illegal to pass a stopped school bus)
- Don’t drive distracted
- Check the medians
- Leave extra room between your vehicle and others
- Slow down
In total, the entire community benefits from this national day in many ways including:
- Less traffic congestion
- Stronger sense of community
- New physical activity and healthier habits
- Safer streets
- Lower costs
- Improved accessibility
This year, AAA Carolinas encourages every school in North and South Carolina to get involved with National Walk to School Day. School officials can see what other schools in the community have pledged to walk/bike and can also register their school for the event at http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/.