Students get up close and personal lesson on roadway safety issues

0
83
Helix Charter.jpg

On Feb. 22, a joint adventure between three organizations: The American Traffic Safety Services Foundation (ATSSF), the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) and the Roadway Safety Foundation (RSF) came together at La Mesa’s Helix Charter School.

The pilot program Teen Roadway Safety Advocates (Teen RSA) was started last year, and four other high schools have since participated in the program. This program is designed to build youth awareness of roadway safety issues. It will be the last pilot program before it is kicked -off nationwide.

On Feb. 22, a joint adventure between three organizations: The American Traffic Safety Services Foundation (ATSSF), the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) and the Roadway Safety Foundation (RSF) came together at La Mesa’s Helix Charter School.

The pilot program Teen Roadway Safety Advocates (Teen RSA) was started last year, and four other high schools have since participated in the program. This program is designed to build youth awareness of roadway safety issues. It will be the last pilot program before it is kicked -off nationwide.

Transportation Engineer Joseph Toole conducted an intense lecture on safety while walking and driving on the streets surrounding Helix Charter School. The students were a big part of the lecture. They were each given blue bags with important information on the safety programs discussed, and each student received a T-shirt.
Toole said, “Three things affect safety. The vehicle, the driver’s behavior and the roadway.” He explained that the

“Mission for the student’s walk was for them to see the road, other drivers and pedestrians with a fresh set of eyes.”
One of the students told a story of how her mother was driving and texting. She grabbed her mother’s phone and threatened to throw it out the window saying, “I want to live.”

After the informative question and answer session, the students were divided into two groups. Everybody then put on their colorful safety vests. The students were members of the Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD). They worked together with the roadway safety professionals looking for potential roadway problems, and areas in the community near the school, and to learn the fundamentals of roadway design and safety.
Toole headed up one group, Kathy Feilen, a traffic engineer for the city of La Mesa, led the other. With the two groups ready to go on this expedition, they were then provided with clickers, which were used as counters to count the number of cars, which passed them on different streets within a certain limit.

Helix’s surrounding streets University Avenue, Yale and Lowell Streets were the areas that the students examined for safety on the sidewalks, as well as in the road. The students also monitored the flow of passing traffic and notated drivers habits such as smoking, cell phone use, speeding, driving the wrong way on a one-way street, and making illegal turns. Pedestrians were also seen J-walking. Other observations included placement of islands and trees in the middle of the street, water flow, sidewalks where the cement ends or is broken, or dirt in areas heavily frequented by pedestrians, all factors, which can cause injuries.

“We need sponsors who will help us to take Teen RSA nationwide. We need to take this program to high schools in every district,” concluded Toole.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here