Back to school is an exciting time for many South Florida families. It can also be a dangerous time, as school buses, traffic in school parking lots, and inexperienced teen drivers all increase the risks of crashes in school zones. If a student or parent is injured in West Palm Beach, an experienced car accident attorney can protect the victim's right to legal compensation.
It is not always enough to be cautious while driving through marked school zones. This simple driver error resulted in the tragic death of a ten-year-old boy who was walking home from school in Palm Bay. Florida Today reports that the boy was not in a marked school zone, but was in an area near the school with many child pedestrians.
Many of these driver errors amount to gross negligence. Such as the case in Kissimmee of five students at a bus stop who were struck by a drunk driver. One of the students later died from his injuries. ABC Action News reports that the driver was a former Mississippi law enforcement officer. Another impaired driver in St. Petersburg struck and killed a seventy-two year old crossing guard, while he was setting up cones in preparation for dismissal at Mount Vernon Elementary School. The Tampa Bay Times reports that the driver, twenty-one, did not appear to be drunk, but did appear to be under the influence of some substance. He was seen driving erratically for some time before striking the victim.
Safety Tips for Parents, Students, Teachers, and School Employees
According to the National Safety Council, more children are hit by cars near schools than at any other location. By maintaining safe driving habits, the risks of injury in school zone accidents can be reduced considerably. Follow these safety tips to ensure that you and your family stay safe:
- Use extra caution in school zones. Speed limits may be reduced, but it is important to be aware of surroundings, as children tend to react unpredictably. They do not always follow the rules of the road in school zones, so it is important for drivers to be prepared.
- Never make unexpected movements while near a school. Signal well in advance and proceed slowly to ensure that your path is, in fact, clear.
- Prepare your teen driver for the unique challenges of driving near a crowded high school. Enact and enforce clear rules about reducing driving distractions. Smartphones should not be used while driving, and teens should not allow passengers to divert their attention from the road.
- Familiarize yourself with drop off and pickup procedures at your child's school before the school year starts. Heavy traffic and impulsive children can make it difficult to know where to go once school is in session.
Do not double park or otherwise block visibility. In crowded conditions, it is especially important that drivers be able to see around other vehicles.