School has begun again for most children in Alabama. Hopefully, it will be a safe, fun and productive year for everyone. Unfortunately, the start of a new school year means the beginning of traffic-related dangers for children who walk to their schools or buses.
Children who walk to school are among those most likely to be hit by cars, according to the National Safety Council. These include children who are getting on or off a school bus, even while the bus has its warning lights on and safety arm extended. Some drivers make the decision to pass around a bus that has its arm out, which is illegal in Alabama and highly dangerous.
New law addresses a concerning issue
Illegal school bus passing is a problem across Alabama. Last year, 1,361 vehicles reportedly passed Alabama buses that were signaling traffic to stop and allow children to safely board or exit. A new law has been passed that may improve safety for children crossing the street near school buses. According to AL.com, school districts across the state may opt to have a third-party company install cameras on school bus safety arms. The companies will monitor vehicles near the buses and send traffic citations to those who pass a bus while the arm is extended.
If drivers knew that they could be penalized for passing a stopped school bus, they may think twice before taking the chance. This could prevent numerous children being seriously injured or killed at bus stops and in school zones across the state.
Driving habits to prevent accidents
People may not realize that the 10-foot area surrounding a school bus is the most dangerous for children, because they can be difficult for drivers to see, including bus drivers. A child may also dart out into the road unexpectedly to catch a school bus or run across the street after getting off.
In addition to observing safety rules around school buses, drivers should take the following precautions to keep child pedestrians safe:
- Do not speed in school zones and always be aware that children may be walking nearby.
- Always stop for children crossing the street, even if they do not have the right of way.
- Be respectful of crossing guards helping children across.
- Avoid stopping in a crosswalk at an intersection, which gives children less room to cross the street safely.
By being observant and aware of surroundings while driving, people may make the roads safer across Alabama for children who walk to and from school. Those who have been injured in a pedestrian accident may wish to contact an experienced Montgomery personal injury attorney to discuss possible compensation.