School Zone Accidents

Car Accidents in School Zones: Legal Responsibilities and Safety Precautions

When it comes to schools, the most dangerous time for children is often getting to and from school safely. The roads surrounding schools are generally residential, which means they’re full of people rushing to and from work each day. This can be incredibly dangerous for little ones who do not yet know the basics of road safety. Specially designated school zones make it easier for parents to keep their children safe.

If your child has been injured in a school zone crash, you could be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses and other accident-related losses. Give Peake & Fowler a call at 803-788-4370 to set up a consultation with our Columbia car accident lawyers.

Drivers’ Responsibilities in School Zones

While school zone safety is a community effort, the vast majority of responsibility lies with drivers. Drivers are the ones in charge of multi-ton vehicles that can cause serious injury to children, so it is up to them to drive safely and cautiously. The South Carolina Department of Public Safety has urged drivers to follow several key tips:

  • Slow down: Speed limits are lower in school zones, but you may need to drive even slower to avoid crashes and watch properly for children. The faster you drive, the harder it is to stop in time if a child runs in front of your vehicle.
  • Stop for school buses: Drivers must stop for buses that have stopped to pick up or drop off passengers. School buses use stop sign arms and flashing lights to alert drivers. Drivers approaching the bus from either side on a two-lane roadway must stop, as must drivers who are traveling the same direction as the bus on a roadway with two or more travel lanes in each direction. If a road has more than two lanes in each direction and you are approaching from the opposite direction, simply proceed with caution.
  • Be alert: Kids are unpredictable, especially when they are in a rush to get to school or back home. Be extremely alert as you drive through school zones since a child distracted by technology or running to get to school on time could walk in front of your vehicle.
  • Be careful when backing out: When you’re backing out of your driveway, double-check for children crossing behind you from both directions.

A Pedestrian’s Role in School Zone Safety

Parents and students also have a duty to keep school zones safe. Parents should begin teaching road safety to children early; by the time they begin attending school, they’ll know how and when to cross safely. Parents should also supervise their children going to and from school, both to guard against unpredictable behavior and to jump in if a driver puts them in danger. A big part of this is being a good role model; parents who exhibit strong road safety habits while out with their children will reinforce those values.

Liability in School Zone Accidents

When a school zone accident happens, victims may be entitled to compensation. Drivers are often liable for these collisions since they are obligated to drive safely and in the best position to avoid a crash. An injured victim or their parents may seek compensation from the liable driver’s insurance company.

There are situations in which another party is liable. Municipalities are required to uphold certain standards for crosswalks, signs, and school zone markings. When they fail to do so, they may be held liable for subsequent accidents. Schools may also be to blame for accidents if they do not provide sufficient supervision for the ages they serve, if they unintentionally allow children to leave the school grounds and become injured, or otherwise put students in harm’s way.

Figuring out liability and options for compensation is challenging, which is why it’s important to work with a car accident lawyer in Columbia.

Get the Legal Support You Deserve with Peake & Fowler

The team at Peake & Fowler is ready to help you with your car accident claim. Claim your free consultation and set up a time to meet with our experienced legal team. Reach out online or call us at 803-788-4370 to get started.