On November 15, 2019, two Arizona teens were killed on their way to school. It wasn’t a shooting or a robbery. It wasn’t a stray bullet or a kidnapping. One child was a 14-year-old boy struck by a minivan, and the other child was a 13-year-old, struck by a school bus – both were walking to school.
While the accident is still under investigation, the tragedy has stirred up conversations around both distracted drivers and distracted pedestrians. While we are constantly telling our kids to watch the road with diligence when they’re behind the wheel: don’t use your phone, keep your hands free, limit the number of friends in the car, keep the music volume down, keep your eyes on the road, etc… we forget to talk about the same distractions when walking across a busy intersection or street. And when both drivers and pedestrians are distracted, that can have tragic – and sometimes fatal – consequences.
In a recent article about the accident on AZCentral.com, Lisa Berry, a spokesperson with the Goodyear Police Department, said, “You see people with their earbuds in or they’re texting and walking or on the phone and walking and they’re just not paying attention,” Berry said. “And certainly that goes for drivers — to remind them that their one and only job when they’re behind the wheel is to pay 100% attention to that road in front of them.”
Arizona banned handheld mobile phone use in April, after Salt River tribal police officer, Clayton Townsend, was struck and killed by a distracted driver in January.
Driving MBA has a lot of information and resources about distracted driving. Learning to be a defensive driver is an important part of building critical techniques and skills that will help your teen become a responsible pedestrian, as well.