Safety Alert: Back to School Traffic Puts Kids at High Risk

school buses, accidentSchool bells are ringing throughout the region and back to school means that parents, students, and community members need to make traffic safety a top priority. There is an increased risk of automobile accidents during this season and taking active measures to reduce the risk is crucial for reducing injury and fatality rates as kids head back to school.

Talk with Kids & Prepare them for the Journey

Parents should discuss traffic safety with their children as soon as possible. Discussions should include the proper way to cross streets, school bus safety, how to follow bike laws, and the best ways to travel to and from the child’s specific school.

Children should also be equipped with reflective gear on their bicycles and backpacks so that they are easier to see in low-light conditions. It is also a good idea to ensure they have flashlights and phones so that they can make their way home and contact help if it is needed.

Preparing Motorists to Share the Road

Motorists should pay close attention to traffic rules and any posted signs alerting them of school zones and school events such as football games, etc. Drivers should allow themselves extra time to either travel through these zones or to go out of their way to avoid them on their trip. Speed is a leading cause of accidents and fatalities for school-age children and one of the best ways to reduce the possibility of an accident is to simply slow down.

School Zones in Illinois

Accident lawyers throughout Illinois handle cases every year where children are struck by cars speeding through school zones. State law mandates a 20 MPH speed limit in school zones from 7 am to 4 pm when children are present. Thus, even if the lights on the sign aren’t flashing and there is even a single child walking in the area, the school zone speed limit is in effect and drivers can be ticketed for violating the law. For a first offense, the fine is $150 dollars plus $50 to the school district. For a second offense, the fine is $300 plus $50 to the school district. However, if the incident leads to an injury or fatality, the penalties can be far more severe. In such cases, the state can pursue penalties of up to $25,000 and imprisonment.