Back to School: But Are Kids Safe in School Zones
School children throughout Atlanta are back at school. Because many children walk to school, the number of pedestrian accidents involving children are expected to spike. The Atlanta police department has announced that they will be conducting stepped up school crosswalk and speed enforcement efforts.
Because of the high volume of child pedestrians in school zones, there is an increased need to be attentive. Sadly, one in six drivers that travel through a school zone are engaged in a distracted driving practice, according to a study by Safe Kids USA.
Anyone who has school age children knows that driving in the area of a school zone, particularly immediately before and after school, can be difficult and confusing. Vehicles are often bumper to bumper with drivers trying to cut over and make last minute lane changes because they are impatient. Children and adults often illegally jaywalk and seem to come out of nowhere. Exceeding the speed limit and failing to stop at crosswalks in a school zone amidst this much chaos can be a deadly combination. There is a reason that the speed limit is reduced in school zones and anyone who fails to reduce their speed creates a serious risk of a child pedestrian accident.
Many children are smaller in stature making them harder to see in the first place, so if a driver is not paying attention the results can be heartbreaking. Among the distracted driving practices identified in the Safe Kids USA study were the use of electronic devices, reading, eating, putting on makeup, grooming, drinking or reaching for something.All of these behaviors that were observed in the study require that a driver’s eyes and concentration be averted from the road even though small children may unexpectedly be present in the street.
Data shows that the most dangerous time for school children to be walking is in the afternoon after the school day is over. The study revealed that well over half of all car accidents that result in the death of a child occur between 3-7 p.m. in the afternoon. This coincides with data on distracted driving that reveals drivers are 22 percent more likely to be distracted when driving in the afternoon hours.
Many drivers that speed do not consciously do so but are simply not paying attention to their speed and surroundings because they are distracted. The impact of speeding in a school zone on the outcome and likelihood of a child pedestrian accident cannot be overstated. The faster a vehicle is traveling the less response time a driver has to react to a child who is crossing the street or to stop at a crosswalk. Speed also has a significant impact on the seriousness of injuries suffered in a child pedestrian accident. When a child is struck by a vehicle moving forty mph, the child pedestrian accident will be fatal approximately 85 percent of the time. If a driver slows down to twenty mph, a child will only suffer fatal injuries in a pedestrian accident five percent of the time.
If you are driving in a school zone, it is important to slow down, pay attention and stop at any crosswalk. Georgia law requires that drivers come to a complete stop at a crosswalk not simply slow down. These simple safety practices can help ensure that our children’s walk to and from school is uneventful. If your child has been injured in a child pedestrian accident in Atlanta by a driver who is distracted or otherwise careless, our experienced school zone accident lawyers have been representing those injured in child pedestrian accidents for over 38 years.
Our Atlanta school zone accident lawyers are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.