With Indiana kids back to school, the
personal injury attorneys at Wagner Reese want you to get acquainted with where your community’s
school zones are, be cautious around pedestrian crosswalks, and make sure
you are following your school’s drop off and pick up rules. Additionally,
you need to make an concerted effort to not be distracted by your cell
phone and to always slow down in areas where children are present.
Most Indiana municipalities have severe fines for breaking traffic laws
within school zones. Some may even double or triple speeding or distracted
driving tickets in these areas. Avoid the ticket, but more important reduce
the risk of injuring a child with your motor vehicle in a school zone
by following this advice.
Indiana law officials have posted SLOW DOWN warning signs as you enter
into a school zone. More often these signs will say “Reduced Speed
Limit” but they can also be flashing lights or even special roadway
boards that are placed on the street before and after school when traffic
is most heavy. Whatever the speed limit is in your child’s school
zone, know that it will always be lower than what is posted in other areas
of the same street. Many Indiana school zones range from ten or fifteen
miles per hour. Knowing that a slower speed is approaching will also allow
you to safely reduce your speed without the risk of getting in a fender-bender.
To avoid any tragedy, you must know where your local school zones are and
remain alert at all times. The more aware you are of children crossing
streets, running with friends, biking alongside the road, or zigzagging
in between drop off and pick up zones, the less likely you will be involved
in an accident with one of them.
Many school age children walk or ride their bikes to school. Crosswalks
are designed to safely take these children from one side of the road to
the other. Crosswalk areas will often be marked with warning signs and
guided by two white parallel lines on the blacktop. However, not all students
use these marked areas. It is still the driver’s job to stop and
yield to pedestrians on the road, even those who are not using the marked
crosswalks. Many children need to cross streets to get to school and they
may or may not be guided by crossing guards, traffic facilitators, or
local police. Young children may not be following the regular rules of
the road, so be extra cautious when approaching both a guarded or unguarded
crosswalk. If you happen to encounter a crossing guard at a crosswalk
know that these people should take precedence over any traffic signs or
signals that normally control the flow of moving vehicles. It’s
the law to follow their cues.
School buses are big and awkward vehicles and have more blind spots than
other vehicles. They also have a difficult time navigating the heavy traffic
found during the busy mornings and afternoons in school zones. Your job
as a driver is to yield the right of way to them at all times. If you
see a school bus stop sign positioned out ahead of you, you need to stop
your vehicle until they have retracted it. Students may be exiting the
bus and walking on either side to get to their destination.
It is no doubt that drop-off and pick-up times are the busiest for heavy
traffic in school zones. These times are also common for drivers to feel
rushed, distracted and in a hurry, and lead to unsafe school zones and
an increased risk for car accidents. When you visit with your school officials
during registration, ask them for the district’s policy on safe
drop-off and pick-up zones. If they don’t have a written policy
in place, work with the school Principal to develop one.
The Indiana Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program is based on the federal program designed to make walking and
bicycling to school safe and routine. SRTS reminds drivers to always:
It’s not likely you or your child will be injured in a car accident
in a school zone, but if it does happen, you want the right people on
your side. The
school zone car accident attorneys at Wagner Reese have the experience you need to secure compensation and
assist you or your child with recovering. Call our offices today at (888) 204-8440
to schedule a free consultation.