Walking to school healthier than driving

Published On: Dec 30 2011 01:30:09 PM PST   Updated On: Oct 04 2012 11:03:34 PM PDT
Family running together

(NewsUSA) - Many American children do not get enough exercise, but families living close to their children's schools might find an easy solution -- a walking or biking commute to class.

Walking or biking are safe, fun and healthy activities that cost nothing. According to AAA, parents who drive just one mile each way to their children's school spend $200.00 per school year in car expenses. As gas prices reach record highs, parents can cut their fuel consumption by reserving their vehicles for long drives.

Walking or biking to school also makes for a safer commute. According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, the majority of traffic-related deaths of school-age children happen to passengers in cars. In 2006, only 16 percent of children age 5 to 15 who died in traffic accidents were pedestrians.

Some organizations are working to make walking to school even safer. For example, more than a half million AAA School Safety Patrol members are posted at 30,000 schools throughout the country. AAA School Safety Patrol members are trained by school sponsors to keep younger children safe as they encounter motorists while walking to school. AAA encourages parents to start a walking school bus or bike train to alternate the responsibility of accompanying children during their trip to school.

Walking to school creates an opportunity for communication and relaxation. Harried parents who are used to traffic congestion might enjoy a stress-free walk each morning and evening, where they can enjoy the outdoors.

Other commuters should be on the lookout for children walking to school. While driving through school zones, motorists should be especially careful to stop at intersections, reduce speed, drive with their headlights on for greater visibility, and scan between parked cars and other objects for children ready to dash into the road.