The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration designated October as national Pedestrian Safety Month and will focus on pupil transportation safety during National School Bus Safety Week. - File photo courtesy Mitzi Bowers

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration designated October as national Pedestrian Safety Month and will focus on pupil transportation safety during National School Bus Safety Week.

File photo courtesy Mitzi Bowers

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has designated October as the first-ever national Pedestrian Safety Month and will include a focus on pupil transportation safety during National School Bus Safety Week.

“At some point in the day, we are all pedestrians — especially right now, when everyone wants to get outside for some fresh air,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator James Owens in a news release from the agency. “Everyone has a role to play in ensuring pedestrian safety. We must keep working to reduce pedestrian deaths from traffic crashes and this first ever Pedestrian Safety Month will help save lives in communities across the country.”

Each week of the month, NHTSA will highlight dangerous driving behaviors that put pedestrians at risk, as well as ways to improve pedestrian safety. The agency has developed resources to help states and local communities identify, address, and improve pedestrian safety, including a data visualization tool, safety tips, and social media graphics and messaging.  

Week three of Pedestrian Safety Month aligns with National School Bus Safety Week (Oct. 19 to 23) and focuses on safety on and around school buses, NHTSA said in an email on Tuesday to pupil transporters across the U.S. The agency has developed a 2020 Pedestrian Safety Month Playbook that contains a variety of earned and social media, and other materials to support Pedestrian Safety Month activities held by pupil transporters.

In addition, NHTSA worked with the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center to develop the handout Safe Steps to the School Bus Stop: How Parents Can Encourage Safe Walking.

NHTSA and the Federal Highway Administration also held a webinar on Tuesday to discuss Pedestrian Safety Month, along with representatives from the Governors Highway Safety Association, the Florida Department of Transportation, the Michigan State Police, and America Walks. Visit the webinar’s virtual Pedestrian Safety Booth.

The agency will also soon conduct its third National Survey on Bicyclist and Pedestrian Attitudes and Behaviors, which will help inform and guide future policy and countermeasure decisions. This survey studies how much people are walking and biking, and their understanding of and opinions on traffic laws, infrastructure, and safety, according to NHTSA.

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