Back-to-school season is a time when children are excited about racing to bus stops, while busy parents adjust to school bus traffic and changing schedules. A new school season also brings new driving challenges, potential safety hazards, and the need to be vigilant.
Many teenage drivers will also be on the road for the first time this school season, which makes it important for parents to prepare their teen drivers and for other motorists to stay extra alert in school zones.
School bus safety is top priority in Pennsylvania. There are many people who play important roles in keeping children safe while on or around school buses, including, parents, teachers, school administrators, transportation personnel, and public motorists. While motorists should always remain alert and focused on the road, there are even more reasons to take precautions during the school year.
School buses require particular attention given they carry groups of young people, government owned and operated, and have strict regulations for their drivers. Motorists sharing the road with school buses must also follow certain laws when driving near or around school buses and are responsible for learning them.
The following are important driving laws that Pennsylvania motorists should know during back-to-school season:
Additionally, the speed limit in Pennsylvania school zones is 15 miles per hour. A speeding ticket in a school zone involves a fine and three points added to the speeding motorist’s driving record.
Speed-related car accidents are common and involve much more than simply paying a fine or going to traffic court. Anyone involved in a speed-related car accident in a school zone or with a school bus should seek the assistance of an experienced lawyer.
Any time motorists are driving near schools, they need to be especially alert because children are often distracted themselves. Today, it is common for children to be focused on their phones, listening to music with ear pods, or chatting with friends while walking near schools. Younger children are unpredictable and more likely to dart out between cars or run unexpectedly into the street. It is essential that motorists remain watchful when driving near children in school zones and neighboring areas.
Bicycles present an additional hazard near schools, so drivers need to keep ample distance from children on bikes. On most roads, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists, but bicycles can be hard to see. Children riding bikes create hazards for drivers since they are often not able to properly determine traffic and road conditions.
When passing a bicyclist, drivers may proceed in the same direction slowly, and they must leave 3 feet between their vehicle and the cyclist. While the most common cause of bicycle accidents is when a motorist is turning left in front of a cyclist and causes a collision, drivers must also watch out for children on bikes coming from driveways or behind parked cars.
Generally, it is wise to plan ahead and leave on time to decrease the likelihood of speeding or being distracted while driving. Families with children who take the school bus should also make sure they leave with plenty of time to get to the school bus stop. Children who are late often have an urge to run which can be dangerous.
Teen drivers can present risk to themselves and others on the road. There are several reasons teen drivers are more likely to get into a fatal car accident than older drivers, including lack of experience on the road, driving while distracted, and failure to wear a seat belt.
Fortunately, there are ways to prepare your teen drivers and help keep them safe when they travel to school or other activities, including:
You can help prevent a back-to-school car accident by being proactive and reviewing safety rules with your children and teen drivers.
Sometimes, an accident happens through no fault of your own, leaving you overwhelmed with a variety of damages. It is important to contact an experienced lawyer in those cases.
Galfand Berger LLP has a history of success recovering settlements for our clients who have been injured in car accidents:
Our dedicated Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP recognize the importance of proving personal attention to each client. If you become injured in a back-to-school accident, call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Harrisburg.