School Zone Accidents

School zone accidents are, unfortunately, nothing new. Despite the laws around speed limits and other protections, there continue to be instances where children are harmed as the result of a negligent, reckless driver.

There’s an increased worry as children head back to school after the pandemic, though. Drivers haven’t had to worry about school being in session for over a year and accidents have surprisingly increased during the Covid-19 lockdowns. As the Bay Area and California get ready to reopen their schools, here are some statistics and tips to be aware of.

Common Causes

There are a lot of factors that go into a school zone accident, but data shows three primary causes. Distraction and negligence are behind all three, but better understanding how these accidents happen can help parents, schools, and children better avoid them.

The first rests on negligent drivers. They may deliberately or negligently ignore the speed limit restrictions in a school zone, speeding through lanes where kids are catching busses or walking home. By the time they see a pedestrian, their reckless driving has made it too late for them to stop.

The second major cause is distracted driving. A distracted driver is three times as likely to be involved in any kind of accident, including school zones. Texting, eating, making calls, etc. can cause a driver not to see the posted school zone signs and the same scenario ensues.

Finally, there are distracted walkers. Kids, and adults, love to keep their faces in their phones. Others might be having conversations with peers and are simply not paying attention to their surroundings. Whatever the case, distracted walkers combine with distracted or negligent drivers in unfortunate scenarios.

The Statistics

Many parents never imagine their child could be struck by a vehicle in a school zone, but it happens more than you might think. The amount of children aged 12-19 who were killed in pedestrian accidents increased 13% since 2013.

Roughly 80% of all students routinely crossed streets in unsafe ways, 44% wear headphones while crossing, and 31% text. Combine that with only four in ten school zones posting a speed limit of 20mph or less and three in ten schools failing to mark their crosswalks. While these numbers aren’t designed to scare you, the possibility of your child becoming a pedestrian fatality exists.

Staying Safe

While you can’t control every little thing that happens in life, there are ways to better your protect your child as they head back to the classroom with their California classmates. For negligent drivers, you can always rely on a Bay Area car accident attorney. For your child, you can teach them a few safety tips.

First, make sure they know to look twice in both direction before crossing a street. Second, have them eliminate distraction like texting or wearing headphones while crossing. There’s nothing wrong with either on a sidewalk, and both can wait until they make it safely across.

Third, teach them to report unsafe drivers in their school zones. The more their school is aware that a persistent issue exists, the more likely they are to handle the problem. If not, take issue with the lack of action at a PTA meeting or call the school yourself. Finally, practice what you preach. The more your children see you practicing safety tips, the more likely they are to follow suit.