Now that September is here, children in and around Chicago are returning to school. This means that drivers throughout DuPage County will be sharing the road with school buses and young pedestrians who are walking home from school or home from the bus stop. When drivers fail to take precautions near school zones, serious car accidents can happen.
It is extremely important for automobile drivers to be careful in any areas where children might be present and to know the laws surrounding passenger vehicles and school buses.
Millions of Kids Returning to School: What Do You Need to Know About Accident Risks?
According to a fact sheet from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, about 55 million American kids go to K-12 schools, and about 13 percent of those children either walk or ride bikes. That number does not include the millions of kids who rely on school buses for transportation and walk home from bus stops.
About 25 percent of child pedestrian deaths occur between the hours of 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., or the hours when kids are heading home from school or school-related extracurricular activities.
The AAA “School’s Open—Drive Carefully” campaign has been around for a number of years and emphasizes that drivers need to take caution to avoid injuring child pedestrians in school zones and around school buses. The campaign provides the following safety tips for drivers:
Slow down in school zones. The lower speed limits in school zones are there for a reason—to prevent a deadly child pedestrian accident. As AAA points out, “a vehicle traveling at 25 miles per hour is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed compared to a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling just 10 miles per hour faster.”
Stop completely at stop signs. Coming to a complete stop allows the driver to actually look for pedestrians and to avoid a collision (as opposed to rolling through the stop sign, which more than 30 percent of drivers tend to do).
Get rid of distractions. Whether you are talking on a cell phone illegally or are eating in the car, avoid distraction in school zones and around school buses.
Always look before backing up. Many children are within a car’s blind spots, and reversing can be especially hazardous.
Keep an eye out for bicycles. Many children have not yet learned the rules of the road for bicycling, and they are “often inexperienced, unsteady, and unpredictable,” according to AAA. Leave at least three feet between your car and any child on a bicycle.
Teach your teen drivers about school zone safety. Parents are among the best resources for teen drivers, and it is important to teach high school drivers about the dangers of child pedestrian accidents.
School Bus Laws in Illinois
It is also essential for DuPage County drivers to abide by school bus laws. As the Illinois State Police explains in a news release, “it is unlawful for a driver to pass a school bus that has stopped to load or unload children when its stop signal arm is extended.” This applies to drivers in either direction—those behind the school bus or those approaching the bus from the opposite direction.
Drivers who fail to obey these traffic safety laws can face serious penalties, including steep fines and the suspension of driving privileges. Penalties for subsequent offenses are more severe. You should know that school bus drivers can call the police to provide the license plate numbers of drivers who disobey the law, and the vehicle owner can be liable.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in DuPage County
If you or someone you love sustained injuries in a car accident, you should speak with a passionate DuPage County car accident attorney as soon as possible. Contact Mevorah Law Offices LLC today.
Whether you are going through a divorce, injured in an accident, need to file a workers' compensation claim, charged with a crime, immigrating to the United States, or need to file for bankruptcy, Mevorah Law Offices LLC can help. Our trial lawyers have over 40 years of experience helping clients throughout Northern Illinois from five offices in Lombard, Bloomindale, Naperville, St. Charles, and Chicago.
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