Car Accidents in School Zones: Legal Responsibilities and Safety Precautions
School zones give children and parents a safe area to walk to school and navigate pickups without worrying about the hustle and bustle of traffic. Since these areas often run through residential areas, though, you still have your share of commuters and others who are on a time crunch. Crashes are unfortunately still very common in school zones, often leading to preventable injuries and fatalities.
If you’ve been involved in a school zone accident in Louisville, you could be entitled to compensation. You have a limited timeframe in which you can file a lawsuit, so it’s important to talk to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Call John H. Ruby & Associates at 502-373-8044 to set up a consultation with our team right away.
What Causes School Zone Accidents?
A wide range of factors lead to preventable school zone collisions throughout Louisville. Commonly reported causes include:
- Speeding: School zones have lower speed limits than other stretches of road in the same area. Drivers who drive too fast are unlikely to stop in time if a child darts in front of their vehicle.
- Ignoring school buses: Where there are parents dropping off and picking up students, there will be school buses doing the same. Drivers are supposed to stop when a school bus has its lights on and stop sign out—when they don’t, it’s very likely they’ll hit a child boarding or getting off of the bus.
- Distracted driving: Distracted driving is dangerous in any setting, but it’s particularly risky when you’re around young children who don’t have the best impulse control.
- Hard-to-see crosswalks and signs: Ideally, school zones will have clear signs indicating the start of the school zone and the location of the crosswalks. If crosswalks are difficult to see, drivers may enter them before they even realize where they are.
- Dense traffic: Traffic tends to be fairly dense in school zones when school starts and ends. This can lead to rear-end collisions, especially if drivers are rushed.
- Limited supervision: Schools should have extensive supervision to ensure that children walk carefully and safely, reducing the risk of collisions.
Driving Safely in School Zones
There’s a lot that drivers can do to reduce the risk of a collision and save lives. Drivers should:
- Leave plenty of space around buses: The ten feet around a bus is the most dangerous place to be. Stay back and give them lots of space—not only do you cut down your risk of hitting a child, you lower your risk of being hit by a bus.
- Always expect the unexpected: Even the most careful parent can drop their child’s hand for a second, leaving them to dart out. Drive slowly enough that you can stop at a moment’s notice.
- Leave early to avoid rushing: Leaving at the last second will make you agitated, rushed, and more likely to take unnecessary risks in school zones.
- Obey the speed limit: Legislators set the speed limit so low for a reason—research shows that it’s the safest option for busy areas with lots of children crossing. Slow down and recognize that you may have to drive even slower to navigate a school zone safely.
- Follow the crossing guards’ instructions: School crossing guards have the authority to stop traffic and allow pedestrians to cross. Don’t try to sneak through to save a few seconds.
How Pedestrians Can Prevent Accidents in Louisville
Pedestrians can also do their part to prevent accidents and keep themselves safe. Cross only at designated crosswalks when directed to by the walk sign or a crossing guard. Even when you have the right of way, check both directions twice before crossing; you never know when a distracted driver could some speeding at you.
Parents should teach their children road safety from a young age. Ensuring that children do not dart out in front of cars, cross right in front of a bus, or otherwise take unnecessary risks is something that will pay off for the rest of their lives.
Injured in a School Zone Crash? Call John H. Ruby & Associates Now
If you or someone you love has been injured in a school zone accident in Louisville, don’t wait to find out if you’re entitled to compensation. Let’s talk about your next steps now—call us at 502-373-8044 or reach out online.