by distracted driving lawyer, Tim O’Hare
School is back in session! As parents everywhere rejoice, it’s important for adults everywhere to be reminded that school zones are active again, so drivers should pay close attention when driving in school zones, as well as near school buses on their morning and afternoon routes.
According to NHTSA, about 18 school-aged children die in school transportation-related crashes each year. Twelve of those are pedestrians crossing the street on their way to or from school.
Texas school zone law, under HB 347, prohibits the use of a cell phone when driving through an active school zone. This includes driving on property of a public elementary, middle or high school. Vehicles that are stopped, drivers using hands-free devices or those making an emergency call are all exempt from this law.
The speed limit in an active school zone drops to 20 m.p.h. Speeding through a school zone also means higher fines and court fees for drivers. But remembering the laws that apply to an active school zone isn’t just about avoiding fines. It’s about keeping kids safe.
If you are a parent, take some time to review these important school bus and school safety tips with your child.
1. Always get to the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is due to arrive.
2. Never run across the road to catch the bus.
3. If you have to walk on roads where there is no sidewalk, walk against traffic. Try to stay off the road as much as possible.
4. When crossing the street to get to the bus, always look left, then right, then left again. If cars or other objects are obstructing your view, go to the nearest corner crosswalk.
5. When the bus approaches, stand at least three large steps from the curb.
6. Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says it’s okay to board before stepping onto the bus.
7. Never walk behind the bus or close to the side of the bus. You could be in the driver’s blind spot.
8. If you drop something near the bus, don’t pick it up until you tell the bus driver or he/she may not see you.
9. Pay attention while crossing the street. Don’t rely solely on the crossing guard for safety; be sure to always look both ways before crossing.
As adults, it is our responsibility not only to teach our children to be safe, but to make a habit of always practicing safe driving, especially in school zones. Put away distractions when driving through school zones, observe the posted speed limit and watch for children crossing the street. If you are unsure if a school zone is active, always assume it is.
If you or your child has been hurt as the result of a school transportation-related accident, contact The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare for a free consultation with a Dallas car accident injury attorney.
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