When kids head back to school, drivers become responsible for watching for school buses and child pedestrians. Unfortunately, many drivers are not up to the task. Despite laws designed to protect children, a personal injury lawyer knows that drivers sometimes are negligent and break the rules in a way that puts young people at risk. Unfortunately, things are getting worse as more drivers than ever are distracted on the roads.
Distracted Driving Risks for School Children
A recent NBC News report indicated that two million more drivers passed school buses in 2012 than in 2011. The problem, according to American Traffic Solutions, is that many of these drivers are distracted and not paying attention to the road. In one troubling video, a semi-truck driver was caught speeding on the shoulder of the road past a school bus and when he later turned himself in he admit that he had been distracted at the time. His lack of focus nearly cost the life of a young girl waiting for the bus, but fortunately she was able to step back in time to get out of the way.
Drivers are not only more distracted when it comes to buses but they are also not paying attention in school zones either. A national study published by Safe Kids USA found that one driver out of every six in a school zone was distracted as he drove through the area that is supposed to be designed as safer for kids to walk in. Both men and women were guilty of failing to pay attention to the road. Out of every 1,000 male drivers passing through the school zone, 154 were distracted. Out of every 1,000 female drivers passing through, 187 were distracted.
The men and women were were not paying enough attention had various different things distracting them. According to the report, out of every 1,000 drivers doing through a school:
- 98 were on their cell phones or using other electronic devices.
- 44 were eating, drinking or smoking as they drove.
- 19 were looking behind them or reaching behind them.
- Nine were doing personal grooming activities like putting on makeup or brushing their hair.
- Three were actually reading behind the wheel.
Drivers were most likely to engage in these distracting behaviors when they drove through school zone areas that did not specifically have flashing lights warning motorists that they had entered a safety zone. In high traffic areas where the daily volume of cars passing through the school zone exceeded 10,000 cars per day, drivers were also more likely to be distracted.
Unfortunately, many of the vehicles that are likely to do the most damage in a collision were driven by motorists who were especially likely to be distracted. Drivers of pickup trucks, vans and SUVs tended to have higher rates of distracted driving in school zones than people in passenger cars.
The consequences of unsafe drivers are very serious. Each year, around 25,000 children get hurt when they are on their way to or from school. Motorists have an obligation to protect these children and take necessary steps to reduce the risk of an accident occurring.
A Scranton accident attorney at O'Malley & Langan can help. Call (800) 817-2667 or visit www.omalleylangan.com today to schedule your free consultation.