Back to school season is here, and while it is an exciting time for students and parents, it is also a time of major chaos on the roads. Parents battle rush hour traffic to drop off and pickup their kids at school, yellow school buses make their rounds, kids walk and bike to and from school, and new teen drivers are out on the road. Unfortunately this makes school zones, which are designed to be safe areas, a high risk for pedestrian and motor vehicle accidents.
Statistics show that approximately 25,000 children are injured each year in school zone accidents. These accidents are a combination of pedestrians being struck while walking or cycling to and from school, and vehicle on vehicle collisions. 100 children are killed every year walking to and from school. While the rate of pedestrian deaths in teens 12-19 has decreased overall over the past two decades, the number has increased in the past two years. These statistics are alarming considering the fact that school zones are designed to make commuting to and from school safer for students.
Many school zones attempt to enforce safety by creating cross walks with signs and flashing lights, designating drop off and pickup areas for parents and school buses, and by imposing speed limits. Violating any laws accompanying these precautions often carry heavy fines. So, why are more and more accidents occurring in school zones