Miami-Dade County

As kids get ready to go back to school, they face a deadly threat

Crossing Guard, Berenise Monestime makes sure students cross NE 103rd St. at Fourth Ave. as they make their way to St. Rose of Lima Lima Catholic School in Miami Shores in this 2013 file photo.
Crossing Guard, Berenise Monestime makes sure students cross NE 103rd St. at Fourth Ave. as they make their way to St. Rose of Lima Lima Catholic School in Miami Shores in this 2013 file photo. Miami Herald File

With Florida one of the deadliest states for children crossing streets, safety advocates are urging drivers to be watchful of young pedestrians heading back to school.

Florida had the second highest number of child pedestrians killed in the country — with Miami-Dade leading the state, according to AAA.

The organization’s campaign was launched to “curb a trend of unsafe driving behavior in school zones,” said Amy Stracks, executive director of the Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation.

In 2014, the last year for which statistics were available, 34 children were killed in Florida — six in Miami-Dade — compared to California, which led the nation with 41. Three children were killed in both Broward and Pinellas counties, which had the third-highest totals.

Safety experts said some of the lead causes of child deaths were drivers using cellphones and texting — lethal distractions for children riding bikes and crossing streets. Then there are drivers who cruise through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods, and those who try to drive around stopped school buses.

AAA has urged parents to remind children to cross only at intersections or marked cross walks — never between parked cars. Wearing headphones continues to be a danger because of the inability of youngsters on bikes or walking to hear passing vehicles.

Public schools begin in Miami-Dade and Broward on Aug. 22.

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