by Tim O’Hare
More than 230 million children across the country start and end their school day on a school bus, which means school zone crossings on our streets can be busy before and after school.
In Texas, getting a speeding ticket in an active school zone can be expensive — oftentimes at least double the amount of a ticket in an area outside a school zone. But what is most costly is putting children’s lives at risk by speeding through a school zone. Drivingly slowly through an active school zone not only reduces the chances of an accident, but also reduces the impact in the event of an accident. Fatalities are far less likely in accidents that occur at a lower rate of speed.
Pedestrian accidents account for nearly 60,000 traffic deaths each year, many of those accidents occurring in pedestrian crosswalks and school zones. People most at risk for being hit while crossing a street include children and the elderly. Some statistics show that 41% of pedestrian accidents happen during 3 and 4 p.m., when children are getting off school busses and crossing streets in school zones.
Distracted or inattentive driving — including a driver’s failure to yield right of way, turning into an intersection without looking for pedestrians, and pedestrians ignoring walk signals or crossing the street without looking for oncoming traffic — accounts for the majority of pedestrian-related accidents or deaths.
With the kids back in school, it is important to review school zone safety, for both pedestrians and drivers.
- In most states, including Texas, the use of cell phones is strictly prohibited in school zones. Some states specify hand-held cell phones. Put down the phone when driving through an active school zone. That conversation can wait, and isn’t worth the risk of potentially hitting a child crossing the street.
- The speed limit in an active school zone drops to 20mph. Even if you’re in a hurry, don’t rush through a school zone. Children’s lives are precious. Slow down. Receiving a traffic ticket in a school zone can cost you double what it would if you were pulled over outside a school zone.
- Teach school-aged children the importance of paying attention while crossing the street. While slower speed limits and crosswalk guards help, it is important that children crossing the street pay close attention to traffic, look both ways before crossing the street, and don’t rely solely on the crosswalk guard to get them across safely.
When driving, always give pedestrians the right of way, even if they are not in a crosswalk. The use of cell phones increases the risk of accidents for both drivers who are talking on the cell phone and pedestrians who are crossing the street. Whether walking or driving, put down the cell phone and pay attention to the traffic and pedestrians around you.
Call The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare for your FREE Case Evaluation 972-960-0000 or Toll-Free 888-960-0020