Back to School Road Safety

September 1st, 2016 by Attorney Julie Butcher

It’s approaching the end of summer and the start of the next school year. There are an estimated 55 million children attending schools in the U.S., with nearly 41,000 attending Fayette County Public Schools. The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that about 13% of students walk or bike to their schools, exposing themselves to the risk of potential accidents with motor vehicles.

When school is in session, drivers need to be wary of students going to and from school, especially when daylight hours start to fade and kids walk and wait for school buses in the dark. Afternoon hours are especially dangerous — in the past ten years, nearly a quarter of child pedestrian fatalities occurred between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

AAA’s School’s Open – Drive Carefully awareness campaign is seventy years old this year. It was created to try to reduce child pedestrian fatalities and injuries. The AAA has these suggestions for drivers to help keep kids safe:

  • Slow down: There are lowered speed limits in school zones. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 25 mph is about two-thirds less likely to be killed than one hit by a vehicle traveling at 35 mph.
  • Come to a complete stop: More than a third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods. We should come to a complete stop and check for children on sidewalks or trying to cross the road before proceeding.
  • Don’t drive distracted: AAA states research establishes that that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chances of being in an accident. Children can quickly go into the road unexpectedly or emerge suddenly between two parked cars. Don’t use your cell phone, eat or drink while driving.
  • Reverse responsibly: Be aware of your blind spots. Check for children and pedestrians on sidewalks, in driveways and around your vehicle before slowly backing up. Teach your kids not to play in, under or around vehicles.
  • Watch for bicycles: School students on bikes can be inexperienced, unsteady and unpredictable. Slow down and give them a wide berth of at least three feet of passing space between your vehicle and the bicyclist. If your child is riding a bike to school, he or she must wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet on every ride.
  • Talk to your teen: Vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S. If your teen drives to and from school, he or she needs to be capable of safely driving the car. Car-pooling with other kids can lead to dangerous distractions. Using cell phones, texting, eating or focusing on the radio and not focusing on driving could be fatal mistakes for your child or others. Teens often don’t get enough sleep. They should not be driving drowsy to or from school.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a pedestrian in an accident caused by a negligent driver in Kentucky, call the Julie Butcher Law Office at 859-233-3641 or fill out our contact form to talk about your case, applicable laws and your legal options.