A new school year has begun in Florida, and school and law enforcement officials are urging motorists to be particularly watchful for pedestrians during before- and after-school hours. Last year in Volusia County alone, twenty-seven students were hurt – and two died – in traffic accidents on their way to school.
According to the Automobile Association of America (AAA), of the 55 million children who are heading back to school, 13 percent will walk or bike. AAA says that child pedestrians are particularly vulnerable after school. Over the last decade, nearly one-third of all child pedestrian fatalities occurred between 3 and 7 p.m. – that’s 1,200 children who lost their lives between 2000 and 2010.
Here are some tips AAA offers to motorists to keep kids safe:
- Slow down. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle going 25 mph is two-thirds less likely to be killed than a pedestrian struck by a vehicle going 35 mph.
- Eliminate distractions. Children run into the street unexpectedly. Taking your eyes off the road for two seconds can double your chances of a collision.
- Come to a complete stop. Research has shown that one-third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods. Stop completely and then check for children on sidewalks and in crosswalks.
- Watch for bicycles. Kids on bikes are often inexperienced riders. When passing them, allow at least three feet of passing distance between you and them. If your child rides to school, make sure they are wearing a bicycle helmet.
The Florida pedestrian accident injury lawyers at Farah & Farah believe that motorists need to be extra vigilant in and around school zones. If a careless or negligent driver has injured your child, you may be entitled to compensation for hospitalization, medical bills, and other damages. We can be reached (800) 533-3555 to field your questions and give you the help you need.