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Mark Bello
Mark Bello
Attorney • (877) 377-7848

Schools Open! Drivers Beware!

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More wheels are beginning to turn in students’ minds and on the roadways.  As another school year is getting underway, congestion increases on the roadways and motorists need to take extra caution.  School buses will be a common site on the roads every morning and afternoon.  Even for those who may not have any children going to school, you still need to take the same precautions and be aware of school zones, speed, school buses and kids.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, illegal passing is a big problem as bus drivers transport kids to and from school.  Many drivers ignore the “stop arm” on buses and keep going.  When approaching a school bus, drivers should be on the lookout for children near the roadway and for flashing yellow or red lights on the bus.  Drivers also need to watch for students walking to school. Pedestrians have the right-of-way; motorists must stop at crosswalks with pedestrians and allow them to completely cross both lanes.

To reduce accidents and help keep kids safe as they return to school:

  • Allow extra time to reach your destination.  Running late tends to lead to poor driving decisions that compromise safety.  Consider modifying your route to avoid school zones and residential neighborhoods.
  • Slow down.  Excessive speed is the most common cause of accidents near school zones.  Whether in a school zone or residential neighborhood, motorists should keep their speed low and be prepared to stop quickly for increased vehicle or pedestrian traffic.Obey stop signs, slow down at intersections and crosswalks, and watch for small children.  Come to a complete stop.  Small children are hard to see and it is equally difficult for them to see you because their peripheral vision is narrower than an adult’s.  Children also have a hard time judging the speed and distance of a vehicle.
  • Avoid double-parking.  It hinders traffic, causes congestion, and creates risks for children crossing the street.
  • Avoid U-turns.  They are unsafe within school zones.
  • Look between parked cars. Children can quickly dart out between parked cars or other objects. Pay close attention not only at intersections, but along any residential roadways where children could be present.
  • Allow extra travel time. Back to school often means increased congestion and longer commute times.
  • Use extra caution during inclement weather. Reduced visibility can make it difficult for motorists to see children and children to see vehicles. It also can make it difficult to stop quickly.
  • Never attempt to pass a bus when it is stopped or preparing to stop.  Remain stopped until the bus withdraws its stop sign.
  • Be on the lookout for kids around school bus loading and unloading areas.

Lawsuit Financial reminds all motorists to drive more responsibly especially as the school year begins and don’t get lax with safety as the year progresses.  Safety on our roadways is everyone’s responsibility.  For more information on school bus safety, visit the U.S. Department of Transportation website at http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/buses/kidsschoolbus_en.html.