According to the National Safe Routes to School program, kids are most likely to be struck by a vehicle near school than anywhere else. With school back in session soon, it is important for drivers to be cautious in their neighborhood, heading in the direction of a school and in school zones to protect our kids. How can we keep students walking, biking or taking the bus to school safe? Exercise caution in the three main places where drivers may encounter schoolchildren.

On the Way to School

elementary school kids getting on the bus In the morning when you’re late to work, you may be frustrated by the school bus in front of you. Yet, for the safety of all kids who are boarding and the sake of the law, never pass a stopped school bus. In all 50 states, it is illegal to do so because it is highly dangerous. Unfortunately, kids four to seven years old suffer the consequences the most. According to the National Safety Council, kids of this age group are among the most school bus related fatalities. Either as the result of being hit by a bus or someone passing a stopped bus.

In a School Zone

All school zones have a reduced speed limit. The average school zone speed limit of 25 miles per hour serves a purpose. Schools are a bevy of activity; you never know when a kid may enter the road and into your car’s path.

If you’re a parent dropping your child off at school, take note of the individual lanes for buses and cars. Also, even if the parking lot is crowded, do not double park. You will reduce visibility for other cars to see if kids are in the road.

Heading Home from School

If you’re in a school zone when school lets out, be respectful of crossing guards and allow students to cross the street. Stop well before the painted lines to avoid blocking the crosswalk. If a child has to maneuver out of the crosswalk to get around your car, they are in danger of other vehicles in the surrounding area.

Kids who live on the opposite side of the road must cross the street. It is extremely important to stop and yield to these pedestrians. Your following distance behind a bus should be even greater than you allow for another car. The 10 feet around a bus are the most dangerous, so be sure to stop a good distance away when the bus is unloading children. Do not put your car in drive until the bus’s lights have stopped flashing and the vehicle is moving again.

Car accidents occur every day, but many are avoidable. When drivers are distracted, especially in school zones, it puts lives at risk. No text message is worth the life of a child. If your child has been injured in a car accident by a reckless driver, trust the experienced lawyers at Trantolo & Trantolo to take your claim.