The 2019-2020 school year has begun in Sioux Falls. It's the time of year when we see an upsurge of students waiting at bus stops, walking, and riding their bikes to school.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that children are in greater danger when approaching or leaving buses and school zones.
There were 264 reported child deaths in school-related accidents between 2008 and 2017—203 of which involved pedestrians, bicyclists, or car passengers.
Crashes involving children at bus stops and in school zones are preventable. The NHTSA explains how by offering safety tips to all road users.
How to Avoid Crashes in School Zones
Increases in school zone traffic and frequent bus stops can make for a slow morning commute. For this reason, the NHTSA urges drivers to allow themselves extra commuting time, especially when traveling a route that crosses through a school zone.
Drivers must not pass buses that are displaying red lights and picking up students. Doing so could result in a citation or fine and put children at risk of being struck.
Teen drivers who commute to and from school must ensure all vehicle occupants are buckled up, speed is reduced, and cellphones (or other distractions) are kept out of reach.
Safety Tips for Parents and Students
Whether your child walks, takes the bus, or rides as a passenger, parents must be fully involved in school transportation. The NHTSA suggests taking these measures:
- Taking the bus: If your child is taking the bus, ensure that he or she arrives at the bus stop five minutes before the scheduled bus arrival. Your child should remain five steps away from the curb and only board the bus when it comes to a complete stop and the driver says to do so. In addition, your child should stay facing forward once he or she finds a seat and look both ways after exiting the bus.
- Walking to school: If your child walks to school, he or she should be accompanied by a parent or guardian until the age of ten. Sidewalks and crosswalks should be used whenever available. If there is no sidewalk, your child must walk along the side of the road facing traffic. Pushing, playing, and use of headphones and cellphones should be avoided.
- Riding a bicycle: If your child rides a bike to school, he or she should always wear a properly fitted helmet, and if possible, other protective gear. In addition, your child should ride in the same direction traffic is moving, comply with all traffic signs and signals, avoid distractions, and use bike lanes where available.
In the event you or your child is injured in a crash, we urge you to seek immediate medical attention and speak to an experienced Sioux Falls car accident attorney. At Northern Plains Justice, LLP, we take the safety of our children seriously and will fight to hold negligent drivers accountable when their actions put students in danger. Contact us online today to learn how we can help.