Baltimore Personal Injury Lawyers: An Important Lesson in School Zone SafetyAugust 1, 2016
A police pursuit of a man driving a suspected stolen jeep recently ended in tragedy when an eight-year-old girl was struck and killed by the speeding vehicle outside of her school, Steuart Hill Academic Academy. The suspect was driving a Jeep Liberty, and was seen speeding through a red light, striking several other cars, injuring at least three other people, before hitting and killing the victim. As Baltimore police continue to search for the man responsible, this is a sad reminder of the importance of following posted speed limits in school zones, and the tragic consequences of reckless driving.
While school zones are meant to protect children, it can be challenging to ensure the safety of young pedestrians because drivers do not always follow the posted speed limits. In fact, according to a national survey, two thirds of drivers exceeded school zone speed limits during the half hour period before and after school. In addition, more than 75 percent of drivers were caught speeding in school zones and 82 percent of drivers illegally passed school buses, as seen by automated photo enforcement equipment.
Brush Up on School Zone Safety
- Prepare for the unexpected. Children often run into the street without checking for cars. It is up to motorists to be particularly careful in school zones, and pay close attention to speed limits.
- Come to a complete stop at stop signs and crosswalks. In every state, drivers must stop at a stop sign. Ideally, motorists should stop before the crosswalk area so that the vehicle does not block the crosswalk, forcing children to walk around the car.
- Obey the speed limit. School zone speed limits are typically 20 mph. As the speed limit increases, so does the likelihood of a fatal pedestrian accident.
- Do not use electronic, hand-held devices. Talking on your cell phone, and texting while driving reduces your reaction time, which can have devastating consequences if you are driving while distracted in a school zone.
- Do not illegally pass a school bus. The National Safety Council reports that most fatal bus-related crash victims are pedestrians between the ages of four and seven who are hit by a motorist who has illegally passed a bus.
- Allow buses enough space to load and unload. Children are most often hit by a vehicle within 10 feet around the vicinity of the bus.
- Obey the school’s drop-off rules. If the school prohibits dropping off across the street, do not put your child at greater risk. Drop off your child at the specified location.
- Avoid school zones if you are not a parent or caregiver. If you do not need to drive through a school zone, choose an alternate route if possible.
- Be particularly vigilant during the fall. September tends to be the most dangerous month when it comes to car-related injuries, because so many children are returning to school.
- How to handle a near miss. Never reprimand the child yourself because he or she will probably already be nervous or frightened, and being approached by a stranger can make the child more upset. Talk to whoever is in charge, whether it is a crossing guard, a school official, or law enforcement.
Baltimore Personal Injury Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Car Accident Victims Injured in School Zones
If you or a loved one has been hit by a car in a school zone, you are urged to contact Baltimore personal injury lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. School zones are meant to protect the safety of your children, and if that safety has been compromised, you may be eligible for compensation. For a free case review, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent injured accident victims and their families throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.