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How to Keep Everyone Safe While Driving Near Schools

Car Accidents

According to Driving-Test’s Ultimate List of Driving Statistics for 2022, 15% of vehicle miles traveled by households were traveling to or from school or church, and on a single day during the 2017-2018 school year, 108,623 school bus drivers across the country reported that 83,944 vehicles passed their stopped school buses illegally.

If your child has been injured while walking in a school zone, or if you have been involved in an accident caused by another’s driver’s ignorance of the school zone rules, let a Florida accident lawyer at Seary Denny help you recover the financial compensation you’re entitled to.

Zendrive Helps Keep Drivers and Others Safe

Zendrive is a data analysis company created to make the roads safe through data and analytics. They use smartphone sensors to measure driver behavior in real-time, which their machine-learning algorithms then turn into actionable safety insights for an individual, fleet, or road.

With over 150 billion miles of driver behavior measured analyzed, Zendrive’s driver safety scores are six times more predictive of future crashes than the industry standard. Their technology is used by fleets who want to measure and improve driving safety, consumer apps to offer collision detection and emergency response, and insurance apps to measure driver risk. Cities use Zendrive’s anonymized data to make city planning safer. Although the results are a bit dated, this is because of the sheer volume of data being collected.

So, How Does Florida Rank?

Here’s the bad news: Florida ranks dead last on Zendrive’s list of school safety. Yes, that’s #50. Still, they offer up some other statistics that may actually help:

  • The worst pickup and dropoff times are 7:00-8:00 a.m. and 3:00-4:00 p.m.
  • Driver behavior failed to improve around 90% of schools.
  • Driver behavior in cities and suburbs saw the worst decline from 2017-2018.
  • On average, city school roads are four times more dangerous than rural school roads.
  • Nine of the ten most dangerous schools are in rural areas near busy streets.

Driving Around School Zones

Parents, guardians, and caregivers who drive kids to school in neighborhoods near a school play an important role in increasing safety near schools by following safe driving practices. At arrival and dismissal times, many drivers are in a hurry and easily distracted, leading to unsafe conditions for students and others walking, bicycling, and driving in the area.

Still, striking and injuring or even killing a child is not something we can just shake off; it haunts people for years or even decades.

However, there are some simple tips on driving safely near a school zone, and this may be a good time to recommit to these. Drivers should always:

  • Stop when a school bus has its red overhead lights flashing, no matter which direction the driver is approaching from. Do not proceed until the red lights stop flashing and the school bus resumes motion, or until hand-signaled by the school bus driver to proceed. These are not yellow lights; do not try to “beat” them by driving around them.
  • Slow down. Most school zone speed limits are clearly marked.
  • Obey all traffic laws, both in school zones and in neighborhoods surrounding the school.
  • Avoid loading or unloading children across the street from the school, forcing school kids to cross busy streets, often mid-block rather than at a crosswalk.
  • Do not double-park or stop on crosswalks to drop off or pick up children. This tends to block visibility for other children and motorists. 
  • Be exceptionally careful during inclement weather; visibility is reduced by rain, snow, and fog.
  • Be prepared to stop for a school bus when the bus’s yellow lights are flashing. Don’t try to “beat” the yellow. 
  • Watch the road and the sidewalk for children walking or bicycling in areas near a school.
  • Watch for children playing or simply gathering at bus stops. 
  • Watch for children arriving late for the bus who may dart into the street without looking.
  • Watch for children walking or biking to school when backing up out of, for example, a driveway or garage.
  • Obey all local school drop-off and pick-up rules and procedures.

Primary Causes of School Zone Accidents

Accidents in school zones can happen for a wide variety of reasons, but most are caused by distracted or negligent drivers and distracted walkers.

Negligent Drivers 

Some drivers drive negligently as a matter of course. They are, of course, far too busy and important for the inconveniences of safe driving. Many simply lack good manners. In any event, these drivers may even see the pedestrian before a collision but do not have enough time to react or stop because of their negligent driving.

Distracted Drivers

Distracted drivers are three times more likely to be involved in an accident because of distractions such as cell phones, texting, eating, reaching for something, and any number of other distractions. A distracted driver may not even realize they have passed into a school zone, or that they are speeding before they hit a child pedestrian. Studies have suggested that distracted driving is comparable to or even worse than impaired driving.

Distracted Walkers

Children and pedestrians have become more distracted than ever before. They are more likely to walk onto roads, and less likely to pay attention in a school zone. Even children who have been educated about traffic and safety can get excited or distracted and step into roads without looking. When a distracted walker in a school zone is combined with a distracted or negligent driver, the results are often devastating accidents.

A Florida Car Accident Attorney Can Help You if You’ve Been Involved in a School Zone Accident

School zone accidents are particularly tragic, as they commonly involve a motor vehicle striking a child. If you’ve been involved in a car accident, truck accident, or other types of motor vehicle accidents in a school zone, a Florida accident lawyer can help. We’ll stand by you and help you with any insurance and legal claims. Contact us to schedule your free consultation. At Searcy Denney, we work entirely on a contingency fee basis, with no risk to you.

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