Minimizing auto-pedestrian accidents in school zones

Florida state law set specific rules for traffic around schools in order to create a safe zone for children. The Florida statutes include requirements for permanent and portable signs, which should be used in school zones to alert drivers to the rules that should be followed while in the zones. The law also states that speed limits in school zones are to be no more than 20 miles per hour during specified hours when children are most likely to be walking to and from school. In a quest to increase visibility and attention to school zones, any signs used must either include the hours the reduced speed is in effect, or lights that flash during the restricted hours. During low visibility hours, such as early morning, safety gear worn or used by crossing guards must include reflective materials.

However, the law does no good when drivers are unaware. The National Safety Council notes that most auto-pedestrian accidents involving children occur near schools. Thus, the Council has issued some guidelines to help drivers and pedestrians stay safe in school zones.

Adults should not assume that children will follow proper pedestrian rules, so even though they may take care to yield to those in crosswalks, they should also be wary of students walking nearby who may dart into the road carelessly. In addition, they should be alert to any signals from a crossing guard. When dropping off children, parents need to use specified drop off areas, and should not pull around another vehicle that may be stopped to drop off a student or allow one to cross the road or parking lot. Even if they are not in a designated school zone, drivers should always pay attention and drive more slowly around children.

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