Now that the holidays are over, it’s back to your regular routine. Getting back in the swing of things can be hard when you’re balancing work, family obligations, and bringing your kids to school. It’s only normal to feel a little distracted when you’re trying to make this transition.
Don’t let that distraction affect your driving, though. School drop-offs are one of the riskiest places most kids see regularly. Be smart, and avoid a pedestrian accident in a school drop off this year.
The Dangers of Texas School Zone Drop Offs
Mixing moving cars with pedestrian kids is always something of a dangerous move. However, it’s impossible to avoid it when handling the logistics of getting your kids to school. Some of the most common dangers that come with school drop off zones include both distracted students and unsafe drivers.
The increase of cellphone use – and the decrease in age of users – has filled school zones with more and more distracted students walking around. Crossing the road without paying attention to their surroundings is one of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents in Texas.
Some students wind up walking in front of moving vehicles, and others are too busy staring at their phones to warn them about unsafe drivers in the area.
Parents are the other direct cause of school zone accidents. Someone running late for work might be speeding. Another parent might simply be a bad driver, forcing others to drive defensively. Even a poor parking job can block sightlines and cause an accident.
So you may be thinking, sure, that all makes sense, but exactly how prevalent are these types of accidents really?
School Pedestrian Accident Statistics
The statistics on school zone pedestrian accidents are not encouraging. For example, there are five teen pedestrian deaths a week in the U.S. That’s exactly one death for every day school is traditionally in session.
- 80 percent of students cross roads unsafely or in a poor location
- A third of parents exhibit unsafe driving habits in drop-off zones
- There has been a 13-percent increase in teen pedestrian fatalities since 2013
- 25 percent of high school students (one in six middle school students) walk while distracted by a device
Were you aware that in 2017 alone, 811 Texas school zone accidents occurred? The results? Two deaths and 30 serious injuries.
Students are more distracted than ever. Knowing this, it becomes your responsibility to watch out and prevent tragedies. Let’s take a closer look at how…
Avoiding Texas Pedestrian Accidents
Avoiding pedestrian accidents is as simple as following some common-sense rules. In general, if you follow the law normally and pay attention to the road, you should already be doing everything you need to do. However, there are four specific rules to follow to ensure you are safe.
Rule #1: Obey All Traffic Laws
In legal school zones, fines are usually doubled. This is to encourage you and others to follow traffic laws and posted signs. Things like speed limits, phone bans, and parking requirements are all in place in school zones because these factors have been found to make them safer.
Rule #2: Always Drive Slow…Really Slow
Follow the speed limit, and the slower, the safer. Speed limits are typically 25 mph and below in school zones, and frequently as low as 15 mph. This is because there is a sharp increase in the deadliness of pedestrian accidents above speeds of 25 mph.
Rule #3: Put Your Phone Down
Never use your phone in a school zone. Distracted driving causes hundreds of thousands of accidents every year. No matter how sure you are that you can effectively multitask, you can’t. Studies have shown that distracted driving is as bad as driving drunk.
What’s more, children are harder to see from most cars. Being distracted by your phone makes it more likely you fail to see a child running across the road.
Rule #4: Head School Zone Policies
Use designated dropoff spots. These places are considered safe for a reason. They are usually designed to control traffic and have people present to get kids inside safely. Just dropping your kids off on the side of the road can result in a myriad of accident types from a minor fender-bender to tragic child death.
It’s always better to be overly cautious, especially in school zones. Kids are still growing and developing, and don’t always have common sense. The price of a pedestrian accident in a school zone is simply too high. A child is irreplaceable.
Beyond that, causing an injury can result in a lawsuit. Be smart, be safe, and avoid a pedestrian accident as you get back into the school year routine this year.
About the Author:
Since she started practicing law in Texas in 2004, Sharon Fulgham has been named a Rising Star by SuperLawyers and a Top Attorney by Fort Worth Magazine multiple times. Additionally, she has worked with some of the best attorneys in the state and served as a partner at the biggest law firm in Fort Worth. Sharon has successfully handled cases at both the state and federal level, and always provides her clients with legal services that are personalized to fit their needs. Outside of work, the most important things in Sharon’s life are her faith, her family (husband Brandon and three children), and serving her community.