Motorists must slow down and show extra caution to avoid accidents while driving through Florida’s school zones. School zone auto-pedestrian accidents occur with alarming frequency and can result in severe injuries and even accidental deaths. Every year, approximately 100 children in the U.S. are killed while walking to or from school; another 25,000 sustain injuries as a result of school zone accidents.
Our state and community leaders try to make the roads around Lakeland schools as safe as possible for students. This includes reduced speed limits, highly visible signs and flashing lights alerting motorists that they are driving through a school zone, clearly marked crosswalks, and hiring crossing guards.
Here are some of the many factors that contribute to Lakeland school zone auto accidents:
Distracted Driving in School Zones
It’s important for drivers to pay extra attention while driving through a school zone. Distracted driving is one of the major causes of accidents that occur within school zones. A lot of drivers involved in school zone pedestrian accidents didn’t even realize they were driving through a school zone when the accident occurred. Texting, talking on the phone, listening to music and other passengers in the car are a few of the things that can distract a driver’s attention from the road.
Speeding in a School Zone
Speeding is another major factor in school zone accidents in Lakeland. Speeding can be dangerous in a school zone. You never know when a child may dart out in front of your vehicle. It can also be hard on your wallet; traffic fines are doubled for speeding in a construction or school zone.
It is also against the law to pass a school bus that is loading or unloading children. In addition to putting passengers at risk, passing a stopped school bus is a 4-point infraction.
Don’t get in a hurry while driving through a school zone.
Distracted Students and Parents
Distracted students and parents also contribute to school zone accidents. A recent study revealed that distracted walking by students is a big problem. They observed 39,000 middle and high school students in school zones in 2016. Their findings were troubling: 1 in 4 high school students and 1 in 6 middle school students engaging in distracted walking; many were wearing headphones or texting. About 80 percent of the students made unsafe street crossings.
Parents were also observed engaging in unsafe drop off or pick up behaviors. To make the trip to and from school as safe as possible, parents should leave a few minutes early to avoid having to be in a hurry, park next to the school and not across the street, and only park in designated drop off and pick up zones.
Motorists, parents, students and school personnel must work together to make our school zones a safe place for our children.
Get Help from an Experienced School Zone Accident Lawyer
If you or your child has been injured in an accident that happened in a school zone, you have a right to seek compensation for the damages resulting from these injuries.
The Rivas Law Group has successfully represented children and adults who have been injured in accidents involving cars, buses and other types of vehicles in school zones in Lakeland, Winter Haven, Lutz and other Florida communities. Call us to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Lakeland auto accident attorneys. We handle most school zone auto accident cases on a contingency basis, which means there are no up-front costs to you or your family and you only pay our fees if and when we’ve won your case.