Back to School Safety Awareness Can Reduce Child Injuries in New York City School Zones

September 14, 2011
By Ronai & Ronai, LLP on September 14, 2011 11:00 PM |

The Garden City News Online reports that the police department will be doing a four-part back-to-school safety series for children and parents. Students in New York have already returned to class, but there is never a bad time for parents to remind children of some of the dangers involved in walking, biking or riding a bus to school and steps that can be taken to avoid child injuries in Manhattan, Westchester and elsewhere in the state.

New York injury lawyers know that school accidents are common among young children but school systems have a responsibility to take necessary precautions to keep children safe on the school bus, in school drop off zones, on the playground, or elsewhere on the premises. Children spend a good amount of time at school throughout the year so safety should always be a priority.
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The first part of the Garden City Police Department series is on safe driving practices. School zones and drop off areas can be loaded with pedestrians, bicyclists, school buses, and cars so motorists need to use extra caution when they travel on roadways near schools and busy neighborhoods.

The morning and afternoon hours when school resumes and ends for the day are especially hectic so parents, children and motorists are all urged to practice some of the following safety tips offered by the department:

-Children contain two-thirds of the peripheral vision of adults and have trouble determining the origin of sounds so motorists should slow down when they see a child pedestrian or young bicyclist because they may have a difficult time determining speed and distance of a vehicle from where they stand or sit.

-From 2002-2004, 69 injuries and one death occurred from passing a school bus while the bus was stopped. When following a school bus or approaching one from the opposite direction, never pass when the red lights are flashing. Come to a full stop and remain idle until the flashing lights are turned off and it is safe to move your vehicle.

-If a school zone speed limit is 15 mph, nothing states that you can't slow down even more, especially in poor visibility conditions like heavy rain, fog, sleet or darkness.

-Every school system has routine traffic patterns that follow a daily schedule. Motorists should take the time to learn the pattern on your preferred route in order to avoid conflict.

-Leaving a child alone in the vehicle is never a good idea because they could suffer from heat exhaustion or dehydration which can result in serious or fatal illness.

-Avoid making U-turns or turning around in neighborhood driveways or in school zones because children may be hidden in your blind spot which makes it nearly impossible to see them.

-It is against the law to leave a vehicle parked or idling in a school drop off area, even if for only a minute.

-Signs posted 'no parking' at crosswalks provide a buffer that makes crossing the street safer. Stopping in the middle of a crossing zone makes it dangerous for pedestrians and should always be avoided for the safety of everyone using the intersection or crossing area.

-Never double-park, block traffic, park or wait in a red zone or school bus loading zone.

-Instruct children to open car doors on curb side rather than into the street where traffic is passing by.

-When picking children up from school, wait on the same side of the street or find a nearby lot to park in that they can walk to safely.

-The chance of injury or death can be reduced by 30 percent if children under 12 are fastened in by a belt in the back seat. Have children ride in the back seat rather than the seat next to you in front.

Other future articles to look for in the back to school safety series by Garden City Police Department include school bus safety, bicycle and pedestrian safety and stranger danger.

If your child has been injured at school or is involved in a school bus or car accident on school grounds, contact the child injury lawyers at Ronai & Ronai, LLP for a free appointment to discuss your claim. Call 1-800-664-7111 to speak with an attorney today.

Additional Resources:

Garden City Police Department Back to School Safety Series, The Garden City News Online.

New York Drivers at High Risk of Car Accidents by Motorists Failing National "Rules of the Road" Test, New York Injury Lawyer Blawg, June 20, 2011.

Universal Campaign Aimed at Reducing Traffic Fatalities in New York City Car Accidents, New York Injury Lawyer Blawg, May 23, 2011.