With back to school season here it is important to address the driving challenges this brings, such as more congestion near schools and in neighborhoods, more yellow school buses on the roadways, more kids and parents walking, and just the added need to exercise a bit more caution. New teen drivers hitting the road to drive themselves to school are an additional safety hazard. Motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death for teens. The CDC estimates that 2,400 teens in the United States between the ages of 13 and 19 were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2019 and another 258,000 needed to be treated for their injuries at the emergency room.
Special attention this time of year is very necessary to prevent simple and avoidable accidents. Here are a few safety reminders from our Florida Pedestrian Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton to keep you and your loved ones get safely back to school.
Every state requires drivers to come to a complete stop when a school bus is loading and unloading students. School buses are carrying precious cargo, so Florida laws prohibit the use of a wireless communications device in a handheld manner while driving in a designated school crossing, school zone, or active work zone area. Motorists are required to stop when approaching a school bus that is stopped with its red lights flashing and STOP arms extended.
You can read more about Florida school bus laws here.
- Get to the bus stop about 5 minutes before it is scheduled to arrive.
- Once at the stop, keep children at a safe place away from the road. Never sit on a curb or wait on the road for the bus.
- Make sure your child knows their bus driver’s name and their bus number.
- Make sure your children know not to speak to stranger’s when waiting for the bus or to ever get in a car with a stranger.
- Let your children know that if a stranger approached them, that they need to tell you and a teacher if this happens.
- Tell your children to not walk behind a bus and stay away from the wheels.
- Children also need to know not to get on a bus or off until the driver lets them know it is safe to do so.
- Children need to know to look both ways – right and left- before proceeding to cross the street. It is a great idea to tell them to keep eye contact with the driver of the bus so that they can see they have made it safely across.
- Children need to remain seated when on the bus and keep the aisles clear. They should also refrain from placing their heads, arms, or hands out the window.
- Children should also remember to be quiet when a bus driver approaches a railroad crossing so that the driver can listen for an oncoming train.
- Children should also not partake in any loud or disruptive behavior while on the bus so that the driver can safely operate the bus.
Double-parked cars are just another hazard in the roadway, so slow down when approaching these vehicles and watch for any doors opening and for kids exiting the car or darting out into the street. Just remember that your visibility is diminished in these situations.
Follow the Speed Limit of 20 Miles per Hour in School Speed Zones
While the speed limit in school zones of 20 miles per hour is quite slow, this is for the safety of the children and you MUST follow it. Children can be unpredictable and the last thing you want is to hit a child that runs out into the street randomly in front of your car. Driving 20 miles per hour in school zones is the law.
Children on Foot or Bikes
Anytime you drive near a school you should be extra cautious. Kids are easily distracted, so be alert and pay more attention, because they likely will not. Young children are especially unpredictable so just keep a watchful eye out so that they are protected. Bicycles present an additional hazard so just go slow and pay attention.
Limit Passengers for Teen Drivers
Teens are easily influenced and it only takes one time for them to be pressured into speeding or doing something dangerous in the car for it to end badly. Your teen driver should be reminded that they have made a commitment to be a safe driver, so passengers should be limited so that they are not pressured into doing something that could get someone harmed or killed.
Contact a Florida Pedestrian Accident Lawyer at Whittel & Melton Today
If you have any questions or need to know your rights and obligations as a Florida driver, then contact our Florida Pedestrian Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton by dialing 866-608-5529 or contact us online. We offer free, no cost and no obligation consultations 24/7.