As our Florida kids go back to school, beware lethal distractions.
Back to school time is exciting—but it is also dangerous, especially for children walking to school. More than 309 child pedestrians died in 2014, and more than 11,000 were injured nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In Florida, our school children walking to work face even more danger than average. Florida is the second-deadliest state for child pedestrians in the country, said the Automobile Association of America (AAA). And the most dangerous times are just before and just after school hours.
Miami-Dade County had the highest number of fatalities for kids on foot in the state. Broward County tied with Pinellas County for the second highest child pedestrian fatalities in the state.
AAA wanted to remind drivers to be especially vigilant while in and around school zones. “AAA’s School’s Open – Drive Carefully awareness campaign is designed to curb a trend of unsafe driving behavior in school zones,” said Amy Stracke, who is the executive director of the AAA Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation. “We must remind motorists to slow down and stay alert as kids head back to school.”
One of the biggest potentially lethal actions motorists can do? Simply talking or texting on a phone. This single behavior can result in drivers missing up to 50% of what is going on around them—so-called “inattention blindness.”
Just don’t do it.
Other helpful tips from AAA to help ensure drivers aren’t involved in a fatal accident with a child pedestrian this school year:
- Be alert. There is no substitute for a driver being fully engaged in their surroundings—but especially so in school zones.
- Follow posted speed limits. Yes, school zone speeds are set low. There are good reasons—children, especially younger children, and unpredictable.
- Beware bad weather. The rain in Florida can come fast and hard- and reduce visibility while increasing the amount of road needed to fully stop.
- Stop means stop. More than 1/3 of all drivers fail to fully stop in school zones and neighborhoods near schools. Coming to a full stop means being able to look for children approaching on sidewalks and walking in crosswalks.
- Loading or unloading school buses mean you stop too—it’s the law. Don’t give in to the temptation to drive around a stopped school bus. It’s dangerous, and could result in a moving violation for you.
- Watch for bikes. Children riding bikes to school may be in a hurry, and are likely not be the most experienced cyclists.
- Leave in plenty of time. It’s a lot easier to obey the rules and be a safe driver if you’re not already late for work.
Have you or a loved one been injured by a motor vehicle while walking in Florida?
If so, the attorneys at Thomas and Pearl want to speak to you. Thomas and Pearl have the staff to investigate the accident and help tell the story of what happened. Gathering of eyewitness testimony, recreating accident scenes, and analyzing police reports are only some of the techniques used by Thomas and Pearl to do so. Expert medical opinions regarding the extent of injuries and treatment necessary can help justify proper compensation.
If there is an accident, there will be a lot on your mind. But before speaking with an insurance company, realize that they will attempt to settle your case in their best interest. Instead, call Thomas and Pearl. Your Thomas and Pearl attorney will be there to help you represent your best interests.
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