The back to school season is an exciting time for Michigan students, parents, and school staff. It can also be a dangerous time: Buses, heavy school zone traffic, and high concentrations of inexperienced teen drivers work together to significantly increase the risk of sustaining auto accident injuries in and around school zones. In fact, according to the National Safety Council, more children are hit by cars near schools than at any other location.
After an accident occurs, an experienced Macomb County car accident lawyer can help secure compensation for injuries sustained by students, parents, teachers and school staff. But it is up to all drivers to accept personal responsibility for avoiding school zones accidents by adopting safe driving habits.
Michigan School Zone Accidents That Have Harmed Children
The Michigan Vehicle Code sets requirements for school zone speed at §257.627a. But following the posted speed limit is not always sufficient to prevent accidents near schools. Speed was likely a factor in the death of a high school student, 14, in Macomb Township. She was struck and killed by a sixteen-year-old classmate driving a Jeep to school. Fox 2 reports that the speed limit near the school quickly drops from 50 mph to 25 mph with little warning.
In another case of confusing signage, an Ann Arbor high school student was killed while crossing a busy intersection near Huron High School. Michigan Live reports that the accident occurred at the intersection of a four-lane road and six-lane parkway. Despite the area’s traffic congestion and proximity to the high school, it had no streetlights, crosswalks, or school zones signs.
High concentrations of inexperienced teen drivers are also a serious problem for high schools - and the areas which surround them. One such tragic case in Flushing caused the death of a thirteen-year-old middle school student. ABC 12 reports that the girl was cutting in between stopped traffic on her way from the middle school to the nearby high school. A female high school student struck the girl, who succumbed to her injuries later that night.
How Drivers Can Avoid School Zone Car Accidents
The two most important things any driver can do to reduce school zone accidents are: (1) slow down; and (2) maintain constant awareness of your surroundings. Unexpected movements by pedestrians and other vehicles are common in school zones. Children, especially, are impulsive, and prone to erratic movements. Drivers must be alert to these situations and prepared to react when they occur. The faster a vehicle is traveling, the less able its driver will be to respond to such emergencies.
It is also critical that parents enforce rules for their teen drivers to ensure safety in school areas. Passengers, smartphones, and other distractions must not be permitted. Young drivers, especially, are susceptible to the dangers of distracted driving, as their inexperience makes them less able to quickly respond to obstacles in the roadway.
School zone safety is dependent upon everyone in the area. By staying alert, slowing down, and implementing safe driving habits on a consistent basis, the school zones of Michigan can be safe for everyone.