School Zone Safety
In the Charlotte region, schools open for the 2019/2020 school year each of the next two Mondays. Many more cars will be on our local roads and pedestrian foot traffic will also increase around schools during the morning and afteroon hours.
It's time to become aware again of how to keep kids safe in school zones to avoid accidents. When you're driving through schools zones it's important to focus on the road ahead, as well as on the surrounding streets because kids can be unpretictable, often darting across streets or jumping in and out of cars and school buses. And these days, many children are even more distracted using their cell phones while walking, adding a further layer of danger.
School Zone Injury & Accident Statistics
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are 5 teen pedestrian deaths in the US each week; in addition, there has been a 13% increase in the pedestrian death rate for 12-19 year olds since 2013.
- In 2015, while 15-19 year old teens made up 26% of all children under the age of 19, they constituted nearly 50% of pedestrian fatalities that year.
The NHTSA observed approximately 39,000 students in school zones in 2016 and found that:
Nearly 1 in 4 high school students and 1 in 6 middle school students were observed to be distracted walkers.
- 44% were wearing headphones; 31% were texting; 18% were talking on the phone, and 7% were performing a combination of the three.
- Unsafe street crossing (crossing at a point other than a designated crosswalk, not observing oncoming traffic, etc.) was observed in nearly 80% of students.
- Nearly 1 in 4 high school students and 1 in 6 middle school students were observed to be distracted walkers.
- Only about 4 out of 10 school zones had speed limits of 20 miles per hours posted.
- Marked crosswalks are missing in approximately 3 out of 10 school zones.
For drivers, distracted driving (or otherwise unsafe driving practices) were observed in approximately 1 in 3 drivers.
- This includes texting while driving, double parking, or stopping in the middle of a crosswalk while dropping off/picking up students.
- After-school hours tend to yield more injuries and fatalities in school zones, with nearly 1 in 4 child pedestrian fatalities occurring between 3 PM and 7 PM.
If these statistics don't point out the need to be extra vigilant and aware of school zone safety tips, it's hard to say what would.
School Zone Safety Tips
The infographic below from AAA provides some great tips to keep your local school zones as safe as possible. Here are a few more tips:
- Do not pass buses from behind. Come to a complete stop when a bus signals that children are boarding or leaving a bus. The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children. Do not pass any vehicle, for that matter, which has stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross a street.
- Do not ingnore stop signs, yield signs, flashing lights. They are not "suggestions."
- Do not change lanes while driving through a school zone or make a U-turn.
- Do not block crosswalks and pay attention to a crossing guard's instructions.
- Do not double-park in a school zone.
- Do not disembark/pick up your children across the street from their school.
- Do not text or email. Avoid cell phone usage unless hands-free and even then it's a good idea to stay off the phone until you are out of the school zone.
- Check your side mirrors before opening your car doors.
This Back-To-School/School Zone Safety Tips for the Charlotte Region are provided by Nina Hollander and Carolinas Realty Partners, Coldwell Banker, your Charlotte metro area residential real estate experts. We've been opening doors for Charlotte regionhome buyers and sellers for 20+ years.
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