School zones have lower speed limits and strict rules for road safety in an effort to protect children from getting hurt as they walk to and from school or as they walk to the bus. Unfortunately, school zone rules only work to protect children when the rules are followed. An accident lawyer in Orlando knows that some drivers disobey the rules and are careless when it comes to driving through designated safety areas. Unfortunately, many of the drivers endangering children do because they are distracted.
Distracted drivers are not just a problem in school zones, but also around school buses on main roads as well. Several new studies show the scope of the problem and the risks to children on their school commute.
Children Endangered by Distracted Drivers
NBC News discussed the problem of distracted driving and school buses. In a dramatic video illustrating the dangers kids face, NBC showed a semi-truck blowing by a school bus that had flashing lights and an extended stop arm. A young girl who was waiting for the bus had to jump back and a witness described watching the incident and thinking the little girl was dead. When the truck driver later turned himself in, he said that the incident had occurred because he was distracted.
This was not an isolated incident. There were two million more people arrested in 2012 for passing stopped school buses than were arrested in 2011 and many traffic safety experts attribute this increase to distracted driving.
Safe Kids USA also took a look at the problems that distracted driving are causing for children's safety. Its report found that one driver out of every six is distracted when passing through a school zone. In total, there are 187 female drivers distracted for every 1,000 women who drive through school zones and there are 154 male drivers distracted for every 1,000 men going through school zones. These motorists have their attention taken away from the road by:
- Cell phones and electronic devices. For every 1,000 drivers in school zones, 98 were on their phones or using other electronics.
- Eating, drinking and smoking. For every 1,000 drivers in school zones, 44 were doing these tasks.
- Reaching or looking behind them. For every 1,000 drivers in school zones, 19 were looking or reaching for something behind them.
- Personal grooming. Nine out of every 1,000 drivers were distracted by this behavior as they drove through school zones.
- Reading. Three out of every 1,000 motorists driving through a school zone was reading at the time.
Drivers were more likely to be distracted when going through a school zone that had a high traffic volume, defined as 10,000 or more cars per day. The absence of flashing lights also increased the chances of driver distraction in school zones. People in SUVs, pickup trucks and minivans were more likely to be distracted, and the afternoon school run saw more distracted drivers than the morning.
Motorists need to be aware of their obligations when around school buses or in school zones and they should be focused on the road and keeping kids safe.
Central Florida accident victims and families who lost loved ones can contact Orlando, FL personal injury attorney Richard B. Troutman by calling 866-434-5770 or visit http://www.richardtroutman.com.