School Crosswalk Injuries
April 21st, 2017 by Attorney John Colvin
In September 2015, a middle school student in Memphis was crossing the street to get to school when a Jeep struck her in the crosswalk. She was transported to a hospital for treatment of her injuries.
That particular day, the flashing school zone lights weren’t working, and no crossing guard was present because Memphis police provide crossing guards at elementary schools only. But flashing lights and guards may have little effect on driving habits anyway.
Nashville Police Target School Zone Offenders
About a month before the Memphis school crosswalk accident, police in Nashville were cracking down on drivers speeding through school zones. One officer stopped five drivers in 35 minutes for speeding through a school zone where the flashing caution lights were working and a guard was present. That officer also told WSMV news that drivers were sometimes hostile to crossing guards, yelling and cursing at them from their cars.
In 2015, 339 people were injured in school zone crashes in Tennessee. Police, crossing guards, and parents regularly see drivers zipping through school zones at speeds well above the posted limit. In many counties, the fine for speeding in a school zone is more than $100, yet some drivers don’t seem concerned about getting a ticket – or about potentially injuring or killing a child in a crosswalk.
Tips for Drivers
Some crosswalk accidents are just that – accidents. But most of them would be preventable if drivers exercised a little more care.
The National Safety Council offers these tips for drivers:
- Be extra cautious when entering school zones – keep an eye out for kids, because they may enter the street unexpectedly.
- Do not pass other cars that are stopped at a crosswalk.
- Always yield to pedestrians using a crosswalk.
- When dropping children off at school, don’t double-park, because it obscures visibility for other children and cars.
- Don’t drop off children across the street from school.
And, of course, drivers should obey posted speed limits. Those limits are created based on how fast a car can travel and stop safely and quickly, should a child enter the street. When drivers exceed the speed limit, they may be unable to avoid hitting a child who enters the crosswalk unexpectedly.
Tips for Parents
Some drivers are more concerned with getting to work on time than child safety, but parents can help their children avoid unsafe drivers by:
- Explaining the rules – Tell children to always wait for the crossing guard’s signal before entering the road; if there is no guard, make sure kids know to look left, right, then left again before crossing.
- Reminding them to be alert – Remind children to be alert at all times when crossing the street – that means no horseplay, and no fiddling with smartphones near or in the roadway.
- Walking with children – Small children walking together to and from school should have at least one adult chaperone (ideally wearing a brightly colored safety vest).
- Volunteering – Depending on school policies, parents may be able to volunteer as crossing guards, to ensure someone is looking out for kids crossing the street.
John R. Colvin, Attorney at Law, has successfully represented injured pedestrians throughout Tennessee and Alabama who have been seriously hurt by negligent drivers. For 20 years, he has been helping victims put their lives back on track, and he is ready to help you. For advice on how to proceed next, or if you have any questions about this topic, call 1-931-962-1044 or submit our online form. Put his bold approach and client focus to work for you.