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School’s Back – Drive Carefully

The back to school frenzy is in full effect. Parents are excited to say goodbye to summer (for the most part) and the kids are looking forward to all the fun ahead. In years prior, we have discussed several different safety measures parents and children can take going, staying and returning from school. However, this year we want to focus on the driving portion in order to keep your family and children safe.

We have all been there – the torturous school drop-off and pick-up line. It feels like it stretches for miles because of all of the traffic congestion. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), more children are hit by cars in school zones than in any other location. All parents should know the rules and regulations for their child’s drop-off and pick-up zones. Additionally, it is important to remember these three (3) tips:

  • Don’t double park; it blocks visibility for other children and vehicles
  • Don’t load or unload children across the street from the school
  • Carpool in order to reduce the number of vehicles at the school

The NSC states that the majority of children who are killed in school bus related accidents are between ages 4 – 7 and they are pedestrians / walking when they are struck.  More often than not, those children were hit by a car that illegally passed a school bus. A few suggestions while driving near a school bus include:

  • Never pass a bus from behind or from either direction
  • A yellow or red light flashing with the stop arm extended means that all traffic must stop
  • The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children – drivers should keep their distance
  • Children ignore signs and hazards and tend to take risks – as adults we need to be cautious at all times

Driving in a school zone means that there are a lot of kids walking and riding their bicycles.  The best practices for driving within a school zone are:

  • Stop behind the crosswalk so pedestrians and bicyclists can pass in front of you
  • When school zone flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians and bicyclists
  • Stop for a school patrol officer, traffic safety officer or crossing guard
  • Never honk or rev your engine in order to scare a pedestrian or bicyclist
  • Never pass a stopped vehicle
  • Check your rearview and side mirrors twice before reversing or opening a door
  • When turning left and a pedestrian or bicyclist is on the opposite side – give them the right of way

The responsibility of driving near a school zone comes with a variety of challenges. Being attentive to school buses, pedestrians and cyclists is critical at all times.  Speak with your kids about how to double-check before crossing the street or what to look for when stepping off of the school bus. From all of us at Kaine Law, we wish you and your children a safe and healthy new school year!

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