The Rivas Law Group would like to join the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) in recognizing August as Child Safety Awareness Month and reminding motorists to focus on safety while driving through Florida school zones.
In 2018 alone, 130,055 children up to age 17 were involved in a vehicle accident in Florida, causing 1,438 serious injuries and 155 fatalities. There were 3,177 school bus crashes in Florida in 2018.
In Lakeland, Florida and around the country, school zones are a common place for such accidents to occur. School zones are areas around schools with crosswalks, reduced speed zones and other special safety features to provide safe access for children going to and from school, whether they are walking, riding the bus or riding with their parents. So, with all of these measures in place, why are there so many accidents taking place in school safety zones?
Causes of School Zone Accidents
Children who may not understand the safety rules for school zones or older children who are distracted and not paying attention can become victims of a school zone car accident. However, school zone auto accidents in Florida are usually the fault of negligent drivers. Distraction plays a big part (cell phone use, texting, kids in the back seat), as does ignoring the law (speeding, passing school buses and disregarding crosswalks and crossing guards) in Lakeland school zone accidents.
School zone auto accidents in Lakeland can include car/pedestrian accidents, car and bus accidents, car and bike accidents, and parked vehicle accidents.
Avoiding School Zone Auto Accidents
In order to avoid accidents, drivers should take extra caution while driving through school zones. They should take care to:
- Drive at the posted speed limits
- Be patient
- Watch for loading and unloading school buses and automobiles.
- Eliminate distractions – cell phones, loud music, etc.
- Watch out for jay walkers
- Obey crossing guards
- Always assume a child is present even if you don’t see one
Parents need to be especially careful when dropping off and picking up children.
Starting October 1, the Wireless Communications While Driving Law prohibits the use of a wireless communications device in a handheld manner while driving in a school crossing, school zone or work zone area.
School age pedestrians can help to avoid school zone accidents as well. Parents and teachers should make sure students know the rules for safely getting to and from school. They should be taught:
- How to use sidewalks and crosswalks
- To avoid jaywalking and use crosswalks whenever possible
- To look both ways before crossing a street
- To follow instructions from crossing guards, bus drivers and teachers while crossing the street
- Not to use headphones or to text while walking (A recent study found that 1 out of 4 high school students engaged in distracted walking in school zones; so did about 1 out of 6 middle school students.)
It’s up to everyone – drivers, students, parents, teachers and adult pedestrians – to make sure Florida’s school zones are safe places.
Lakeland School Zone Accident Attorney
If your child has been injured in a school zone accident in Lakeland, Winter Haven, Lutz or other Central Florida community that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you have a right to seek compensation for the medical expenses and other damages resulting from your injuries.
The Rivas Law Group has successfully represented child and adult victims of accidents involving cars, buses and other types of vehicles in school zones in Florida.
We have years of experience in pursuing cases against careless and reckless drivers whose disregard for the law and a child’s safety result in tragic, sometimes fatal injuries.
Call Rivas Law Group today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Lakeland personal injury attorney. In addition to our Lakeland location, we also have offices in Winter Haven and Lutz.