Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., offers back-to-school safety reminders for students, drivers
CHICAGO (August 3, 2017) –Over the next several weeks, Chicago area students will be making their return to school! While the start of the school year signals a return to homework, organized sports and other classroom activities, it also means an increase in pedestrian and motor traffic around schools.
Even if you don’t have a child heading back to school this year, you will most likely be affected by the back-to-school transition over the next few weeks. Whether that is getting stuck behind a school bus, driving through a school zone, or passing children on their way to school, it is important to keep some safety tips in mind as students gear up for the new year.
- When a school bus in the middle of traffic has their red lights flashing, that is your cue to come to a complete stop.
- Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign means students are either boarding or disembarking the bus. All traffic must come to a complete stop when you see this signal.
- Yellow flashing lights mean the bus is preparing to make a stop, so that is your cue to begin braking!
- Failure to come to a complete stop before reaching the school bus can result in a $150 fine and the suspension of your driver’s license.
- Motorists should ALWAYS reduce their speed in school zones during school hours and when children are present.
- The speed limit in school zones is 20 miles per hour.
- Speeding in a school zone is a petty offense punishable by up to a $1000 fine, a minimum fine of $150 for a first offense, a minimum fine of $300 for a second or subsequent offense, and a $50 surcharge.
- Drivers should always be aware of their surroundings while driving, but it is especially important to be on the look out for children walking and riding their bicycles to school during the morning and afternoon commutes.
- Remember, younger children are more likely to dart out between cars.
- You should not pass other vehicles or change lanes when driving in a school zone.
- The use of electronic devices in a school zone is illegal. And as always, you should not text while driving!
While school bus-related child fatalities are extremely rare, there are an average of 134 school-transportation related deaths per year, according to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Most of those fatalities involved a driver or passenger of a vehicle other than a school bus. However, the same report found about 12 children die per year after being struck by their school bus or waiting for their bus. It is important to follow the safety tips above to keep children safe during the 2017-2018 school year.
It takes several weeks for students and drivers to get accustomed to the new back-to-school routine. Drivers should allow for extra travel time in anticipation of increased traffic during the morning and afternoon commutes. Always be vigilant and drive defensively to decrease the risk of crash or injury.