Too often, pedestrian injuries are seen as “unavoidable accidents.” But Manténganse Alerta/Stay Alert aims to show children, their caregivers, and drivers how and why pedestrian injuries and deaths are preventable. Program materials are in the form of a “photo novella,” or a brief story with photos, and were developed for the Latino population of three Massachusetts communities—Holyoke, Chicopee, and Springfield—with funding from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Prior to developing Manténganse Alerta/Stay Alert, EDC conducted a national survey of Spanish-language pedestrian safety resources, found what was lacking, and developed guidelines for more effective educational materials. Community residents guided the development of two key safety messages: (1) Traffic injuries have human and emotional costs, and (2) both drivers and pedestrians must accept responsibility for safe streets. Preliminary evaluation of the project has been positive, and EDC project directors are hoping to expand the program nationwide.
Originally published on September 1, 2005