Pedestrian Accidents in California School Zones
School zones across California are just like any other residential or commercial zone when kids are on break: some vehicular and/or pedestrian traffic, but nothing out of the ordinary considering the overall neighborhood. When children are back at school, however, school zones are about to become a hive of activity. Oakland pedestrian accident attorneys with The Barnes Firm know that when you place excited children, hurried or frazzled parents, vehicles, noise, and large buses all in a congested area, disaster can strike without notice.
Pedestrians At Risk of Serious Injuries in School Zones
Pedestrians are at a significant risk of being hurt by a car, SUV, or bus in a school zone. Because many streets and drop-off locations near schools aren’t meant to handle large volumes of traffic, parents and bus drivers alike are usually rushed and needing to leave the school zone as soon as possible. Coupled with other potential factors, the situation is ripe for a schoolchild or parent crossing the road to be struck:
- A parent behind the wheel and running behind schedule may be texting or attempting to call work and inform his or her employer and may not see a child stepping onto the street;
- A bus driver, tired from not getting enough rest before starting his or her rounds, may yawn and close his or her eyes just as a parent crosses the road to get back to the parent’s car; and
- A parent may be racing out of a school zone, trying to get to his or her next appointment, and not be able to stop in time for a crossing guard who appears and attempts to guide pedestrians safely across a crosswalk.
Even though school zones are associated with slow speed limits and warning signs, injuries to a pedestrian’s head, neck, spinal cord, hips, and internal organs are all possible results of a pedestrian collision – even one that occurs at slow speeds. Children and the elderly are at an even greater risk of traumatic injuries.
Safety Tips for Pedestrians In and Near School Zones
Prevention and thinking ahead are key to avoiding injuries in a school zone. Children and adults who are walking to and from school or crossing the street near school zones can mitigate their risk of being hit by a car or bus by:
- If you must cross the street, crossing at a designated crosswalk or with the assistance of a crossing guard. Be mindful and observe all traffic signals and directions given to you;
- Wearing clothing that can be easily seen by drivers, given the surrounding architecture and environment. If would be unwise, for example, to wear all-black or dark clothing if you must walk to school in the early morning hours and while it is still dark outside;
- Standing or walking in highly visible areas and on a sidewalk, if possible. Don’t walk in between parked cars and avoid walking in the street if you can; and
- Remaining alert by not listening to music, surfing the internet, checking social media, or texting while walking.
What To Do If You’ve Been Struck By A Vehicle In A School Zone
School districts and city officials all have a role to play in making school zones safe for motorists and pedestrians alike. Individuals like motorists, bus drivers, city planners and engineers, and crossing guards can all be responsible for paying compensation to injured pedestrians (or their families, if a child is injured) if they hurt or cause injury to a pedestrian by not paying attention to what they are doing.
While prompt medical attention is critical for injured California pedestrians, attention should also be paid to the person’s legal rights as well.
An Oakland pedestrian accident lawyer at The Barnes Firm can help these victims and their families get the best possible result. This often includes investigating the accident, holding those responsible accountable, and making sure their insurance companies provide you with the compensation you need to recover from your injuries.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a school zone, call us or contact our Oakland Pedestrian Accident Lawyer online for a FREE case evaluation.
The Barnes Firm (800) 800-0000