Back to School Driving Safety Tips Can Prevent Pedestrian Accidents

As students go back to school, an article from FOX News (9.1.14) reminds drivers to slow down and watch out for school buses and kids.

Said one driver, “drivers and buses have to work together to keep kids safe.”

Each year more than a hundred children are killed and thousands are injured in accidents that occur while they are going to or coming from school.

Some safety reminders for drivers:

  1. Plan ahead and leave earlier. Motorists who travel through school zones should budget extra time and plan for delays.
  2. Watch out for children and other pedestrians. Children headed to school are easily and often distracted by friends and others, and may not always be paying enough attention to traffic. Motorists must drive defensively and be prepared to stop quickly as children can be unpredictable.3.
  3. Obey school crossing guards. These guards are provided by the New York Police Department. Their job is to assist children with safely crossing the road. Drivers are required by law to stop and remained stopped any time a crossing guard indicates that they must stop. [Section 1110, NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law]. Drivers who fail to obey or fail to yield to a crossing guard may get a ticket.
  4. Know and follow the crosswalk law. Drivers must yield to pedestrians in any crosswalk, whether there is a traffic control signal or not and, especially if the pedestrian is in potential danger [Section 1151, NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law]. Crosswalks exist at all intersections even if they are unmarked.
  5. Drive the speed limit. In most New York State school zones, the speed limit is 15 mph. School speed zones may be in effect anytime between 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., depending on the needs of the school. Some school zones do not have designated hours. These zones may have flashing lights and warning signs indicating that a driver is entering the school zone. Whenever the lights are flashing, the school zone is in effect. School zones can extend as far as 1,325 feet away from the school, about ¼ mile.
  6. Stop for school buses. Drivers must slow down when the amber lights of a school bus are flashing. When the red lights flash, and a stop sign extends from the side of the bus, drivers in both directions are required to stop, even if the bus is on the other side of the street. This is the law. Drivers then need to wait until the bus either turns off the flashing red lights or starts moving again. The exception is if a physical barrier in the median is dividing the opposing lanes of traffic. Then only drivers on the same side as the bus are required to stop.
  7. Pay careful attention to the road. Do not drive while distracted. Some of the more common examples of distracted driving include: eating while driving, texting, and using a cell-smart phone. Anytime a driver takes his or her eyes off the road, the risk of an accident increases.

It is always better to be safe than sorry.

The FOX News story cited is “School bus drivers get ready for first day of school with safety reminders for drivers.”

For over 40 years, David H. Perecman has distinguished himself as one of the leading personal injury lawyers in New York City, championing all types of personal injury cases including construction accidents, premises accidents, automobile accidents, and medical malpractice, along with employment discrimination, false arrest, and civil rights cases.