The safety of student pedestrians heading back to school needs to be a top priority. Drivers need to obey all traffic laws and speed limits, come to a complete stop at stop signs and check for children on sidewalks and in crosswalks - being mindful that they may dart out from across the street or between parked cars.
Reduce your speed and keep your eyes on the road
Children tend to be unpredictable as pedestrians, and some may ignore dangers that could put them at a higher risk of injury. Even older children may be distracted as they walk. They might be listening to music, texting, talking or surfing the web on their smartphones.
One study published in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention revealed pedestrian behavior was influenced and generally considered riskier when participants were simultaneously using a smartphone while crossing the street, compared to those with no such device. That means motorists must be especially alert and cautious as they navigate the streets.
Just ahead of the school year, city officials in Providence announced speed cameras set up near school zones would be utilized. Authorities told NBC-10 that for the first 30 days, speeding drivers captured on camera would receive a warning. Beginning Oct. 23rd, violators would receive a $50 fine per violation.
Recently, the National Safety Council offered advice for drivers, students and parents to help reduce traffic safety hazards that put students at risk. Drivers sharing the road with young pedestrians should be mindful to:
- Never block a crosswalk when waiting to turn or while stopped at a red light, as this leaves pedestrians no choice but to go around, putting them in possible danger of moving traffic.
- Always stop for crossing guards or school patrol officers who hold up signs to allow children to cross.
- Never pass another vehicle that is stopped for a pedestrian.
- Always stop and yield to pedestrians crossing in the crosswalk or intersection when in a school zone and the flashers are blinking.
- Take extra care to watch for children in school zones, near parks and playgrounds, and while driving through residential areas.
Parents and students too can take a proactive approach to child pedestrian safety. Among the recommended step are:
- Always walk on the sidewalk, or if there is none, make sure to walk facing traffic.
- Avoid walking while using headphones, texting or talking on the phone.
- Make sure before crossing a street that you stop, look left, right and left again to see if cars are coming.
- Parents should practice walking the route with their child a few times to make sure they've got it down.
If your child is injured while commuting to or from school in Rhode Island, an experienced Providence pedestrian accident attorney can help you determine what types of compensation may be available for you to claim to cover medical expenses, lost wages and more.