With back-to-school season underway, the focus is once again on protecting children from getting hurt during their commute. Each year in the United States, around 25,000 children get injured when going to or from school. A personal injury lawyer knows that many of these children are involved in collisions with drivers who are not following safety rules.
The law requires drivers to slow down in school zones and to stop for school buses that have flashing lights and an extended stop arm. Unfortunately, evidence indicates that fewer drivers are obeying the rules and being safe because too many motorists are distracted.
Distracted Driving in School Zones
A new national report from Safe Kids USA demonstrates just how many motorists are driving distracted through school zones. According to the report:
- One in six motorists passing through a school zone is distracted.
- Out of every 1,000 female drivers, 187 are distracted as they pass through a school zone.
- Out of every 1,000 male drivers going through a school zone, 154 were distracted.
- 98 out of every 1,000 drivers were using their cell phones or utilizing another type of electronic device when driving in a school zone.
- 44 out of every 1,000 drivers traveling in a school zone were distracted by eating, drinking or smoking while driving.
- 19 out of every 1,000 motorists in the school zone area were reaching behind them or looking behind them instead of focusing on the road.
- Nine out of every 1,000 drivers in school zones are distracted by doing personal grooming tasks.
- Three out of 1,000 drivers in school zones are distracted because they are reading.
- Drivers in minivans, SUVs and pickup trucks were more likely than other motorists to be distracted when going through a school zone.
- School zones without flashing lights had more distracted drivers than school zones with lights.
- School zones with an average daily traffic volume of 10,000 or more cars had higher rates of distracted drivers.
When motorists are focused on something besides the road, young school children are at risk. Unfortunately, drivers also endanger children outside of school zones who are getting onto or off of school buses. Although the law makes clear that drivers must always stop for a school bus if the bus has its lights flashing and its stop arm extended, many drivers fail to obey this rule.
In fact, according to an NBC News report, around two million more drivers illegally passed by stopped school buses in 2012 than in 2011. NBC had a video of one semi truck driving on the shoulder of the road and narrowly missing a school girl because the driver did not stop for the bus. The driver turned himself in for his actions and indicated he was distracted at the time of the incident.
Drivers need to stay focused on protecting kids from injury or death on the commute to school. While distracted driving is never OK, motorists especially should stay focused on the road when in a school zone or near a school bus that children are riding on.
Springfield accident victims should contact the offices of Tolbert Beadle and Musgrave LLC at 1-800-887-4030.