Each year millions of children travel from their homes to attend school by walking, biking, and taking the bus.
Roads are congested during peak times, and school zones have become one of the leading causes of injuries and deaths for school-aged children. As more children attend public schools and more drivers take to the road each year, it is essential for drivers to practice safe driving habits when traveling near school zones.
School zones are designated areas near schools and playgrounds. These areas are specifically designed to help keep children safe as they walk to and from school. You should always remain alert when driving, and you should keep an eye out for signs and other indications that you are entering a school zone.
A study conducted by Safe Kids Worldwide noted that 1 in 3 drivers are doing something unsafe when dropping off or picking students, like driving while on the phone, double parking or not following the rules of the road.
Speed Management is the Key to Road Safety
The Federal Highway Administration, a division of the US Department of Transportation, published an article in their Winter-2022 issue of Public Roads Magazine entitled “Speed Management is Key to Road Safety“. In this article, the FHWA cites speed management as the #1 factor to reduce accidents and injuries.
What Communities Can Do
There are things you can do in your community to help protect kids on the move.
- Upgrade and maintain school zone roads and crosswalks.
- Identify high risk school zones and pursue proven interventions, like crosswalks striping, appropriate speed limits, visible signs, crossing guards and traffic lights.
- Educate parents and students on safe walking and driving habits, e.g., not crossing mid-block, avoiding distractions, etc.
- Set and enforce speed limits in school zones at no more than 20 miles per hour.
- Implement and enforce school policies regarding drop off and pick up of students.