Most everyone understands that driving safely in and around a school zone is incredibly important, and that it is a driving situation requiring an increased sense of awareness, and all of our focus and attention as drivers.
This is especially true in the hours directly before and after school starts and stops, when it can be reasonably expected that there will be greater numbers of children and young adults on the neighborhood sidewalks and streets, as they travel to and from school.
Children can’t be expected to know how to watch out for their own safety like adults do, so we need to do it for them, and help ensure their safety however we can.
This is why school zones exist in the first place, and why there are reduced speed limits in those zones; it’s an effort to get drivers to slow down and keep a sharp eye out for vulnerable children.
But the prevalence of smartphones and the increase in distracted behaviors they’ve helped cause, have raised new concerns around pedestrian safety, especially for children and teens.
Teen Pedestrian Accident Statistics
According to research done by Safe Kids Worldwide, the rate of pedestrian fatalities has decreased over the course of the last two decades for children aged 19 and under as a whole.
But, this rate has not dropped as dramatically for children age 12-19 as it has for children younger than 12, with recent years seeing as much as a 13% increase in the fatality rate for the 12-19 age range.
There is an average of five teenage pedestrian fatalities a week in the United States, and according to the Transportation Research Board, an average of 25,000 children each year are injured in accidents that occurred in or near school zones.
It’s not Just Drivers Who Get Distracted
Safe Kids Worldwide teamed up with FedEx in a program where they observed almost 40,000 middle and high school students, and their parents, as they traveled to and from school, and they noticed some disturbing trends.
27% of the high school students they observed, and 17% of the middle school students were all walking while distracted by a mobile device, to the point where they could easily miss an oncoming danger.
And the issue wasn’t just that these young pedestrians were very distracted and not looking out for their own safety, but many also engaged in unsafe street crossing behaviors, such as ignoring traffic lights, not looking carefully for oncoming traffic before crossing, and not using a crosswalk. 83% of the middle school students, and 76% of the high school students observed, engaged in at least one of these types of dangerous behaviors.
And of course it wasn’t just the kids that engaged in potentially dangerous behavior, roughly 1 in 10 adults dropping off, or picking up children, were distracted by a mobile device, and 1 in 3 engaged in unsafe behavior such as double parking or stopping in unsafe areas.
We Can Make School Zones Safer
Safe Kids Worldwide also noted a number of ways that many school zones around the country just aren’t as safe as they could be, and suggested a number of actions that communities could take to help safeguard their young pedestrians, including:
- Reducing speed limits in all school zones to no more than 20 miles per hour, and strictly enforcing that limit.
- Schools could set and enforce strict pick-up and drop-off policies
- Schools could create public awareness campaigns that educate students and their parents about dangerous walking and driving habits.
- Communities can identify high risk areas, and use proven harm reduction methods such as traffic lights and signage, crosswalks and crossing guards, in those areas.
Contact Our Lakewood Car Accident Lawyers Today
After a car accident, you need a law firm in your corner that can fight the insurance companies and protect your rights. Insurance companies do not want to pay accident victims what they need – and deserve. That is why injured accident victims need to call an attorney as soon as they are injured. Call the family-run, Lakewood personal injury law firm of Paysinger Law, P.C., and see the difference that family makes.
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