It's mid-September, and children are back to school in Connecticut. They’re getting on buses, walking on sidewalks, hopping on bicycles, or getting dropped off by their parents.
Whatever their mode of transportation, it’s important to keep kids safe as they make their way to school and back home in the afternoon. Drivers need to stay alert, especially during the hours when schoolchildren are commuting.
Unfortunately, tragic car accidents can happen in a split second. A driver might look at a smartphone for just a few moments and not see a child on a bicycle sharing the road. Or an accident could be caused by someone late for work who might be speeding and not have enough time to stop for a child who is crossing the street.
To reduce the risk of accidents during the “back to school” season, we are sharing some important safety tips. You can also find a downloadable list of safety tips courtesy of the National Safety Council.
School bus safety
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, school buses are the safest vehicles on the road. The biggest risk to children is actually when they approach or leave a bus.
Here are tips for drivers to share the road with school buses and prevent crashes:
- Stop your car: In Connecticut, the law requires drivers traveling in both directions on a road to stop when red lights are flashing on a school bus and the stop sign is extended. Motorists must stop at least 10 feet from the rear or front of the school bus until the red signal lights are no longer being displayed. All drivers at intersections are also prohibited from making a turn toward a school bus that is receiving or discharging students (or other passengers). Illegal passing of a school bus may be punishable by fines, driver's license suspension, and potentially up to 30 days in jail.
- Be alert: Children can be unpredictable. Even after the school bus pulls away, watch out for a child who might step into the road or make other unexpected movements. In neighborhoods near school buses, watch for children who might be walking to or from a stop.
- Slow down: Children might be playing at a bus stop. They might be late for the bus and dart into the street. If approaching a school bus with yellow flashing lights, slow down and prepare to stop your vehicle until the bus no longer has its red signal lights activated.
Motorists who approach children riding bicycles should slow down and give them plenty of space when passing. Drivers also should check twice before turning right. A young cyclist may be approaching on the right side of the vehicle and not realize the driver is about to turn.
Children who walk to school should use sidewalks and crosswalks. If a sidewalk is not available, they should walk facing the traffic. Drivers should avoid distractions and be alert for pedestrians on their way to school. Remember, children can be unpredictable. Drivers who approach children walking on a road should slow down and be prepared to stop.
Hold negligent drivers accountable
Unfortunately, accidents happen on Connecticut roads every day. In many cases, a driver made a careless or reckless decision. They might have been texting, speeding, or driving under the influence of alcohol. Others are inattentive or decide to ignore the rules of the road. Regardless, crash victims have the right to pursue compensation for their losses (accident-related expenses), and a car accident lawyer can help.
If your child was injured in an accident, contact the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone and Morelli today for a free consultation. You don’t have to deal with the insurance companies on your own. We can handle every aspect of your claim and fight to make the at-fault driver answer for their negligence. There’s no obligation when you call us, and you pay nothing unless we win your claim.