Serving Justice

School Zone Related Accidents: Dangers You Need To Know

October 27, 2023Pedestrian Accidents

yellow school bus with red stop sign

School zones are designed to protect students but can also be an alarming hotspot for pedestrian accidents. Here are the statistics you need to know and the safety measures that can be taken.

School Zone Accident Statistics

According to data provided by

  • Five teen pedestrians are killed in school zones each week.
  • Since 2013, there has been a 13% increase in 12 to 19 year old pedestrian deaths.
  • In 2015, teens ages 15-19 made up approximately half of the pedestrian fatalities.

In 2016, Safe Kids Worldwide observed 56,000 drivers and 39,000 middle and high school students and found the following:

  • 1 in 6 middle school students and 1 in 4 high school students were distracted while walking.
  • 44% of teens who were distracted were wearing headphones, while 31% were on their phones.
  • 80% of students crossed the street unsafely.
  • Close to 1 in 3 drivers engaged in unsafe drop-off or pick-up behavior.

Why School Zones Are So Dangerous

School zones can be particularly dangerous due to a combination of factors:

  • Small Children: School zones are frequented by young children who may not yet have fully developed road safety awareness. They can be impulsive and less able to accurately judge vehicle speeds and distances.
  • Unpredictable Behavior: Children can exhibit unpredictable behavior, such as suddenly darting into the road, which can catch drivers off guard.
  • Distractions: Both pedestrians and drivers can be distracted. Students might be engaged in conversations or be focused on their phones. Drivers may also be using their phones, changing the music, or otherwise not fully attentive to the road.
  • Limited Visibility: Small children may not be easily visible to drivers, especially if they are in a blind spot.
  • Traffic Law Violations: Some drivers may not adhere to the posted speed limits or other traffic regulations within school zones.
  • Inadequate Infrastructure: Faded or missing signage, poorly marked crosswalks, and lack of proper lighting can contribute to confusion and accidents.
  • Lack of Crossing Guards: Inadequate or absent crossing guards can leave children vulnerable during busy traffic times.

These factors collectively contribute to the heightened risk of accidents in school zones, underscoring the critical need for comprehensive safety measures and heightened awareness from all road users.

School Zone Safety Measures

School zone safety measures are essential for protecting the lives of students, parents, and pedestrians:

  • Reduced Speed Limits: Lowering speed limits within school zones ensures drivers have more time to react to unexpected situations and reduces the severity of accidents.
  • Visible Signage and Markings: Well-maintained and clearly visible signs, including speed limit signs, pedestrian crossing signs, and school zone markers.
  • Flashing Lights and Beacons: Flashing lights and beacons, especially near crosswalks, alert drivers to slow down and be vigilant.
  • Speed Bumps: These physical traffic calming measures help regulate speed by requiring drivers to slow down.
  • Crosswalks and Pedestrian Islands: Clearly marked crosswalks and pedestrian islands provide safe passage for students and others crossing the road, ensuring they are visible to drivers.
  • School Zone Patrols: Increased law enforcement presence in school zones serves as a deterrent to speeding and reckless driving. Officers can also monitor compliance with traffic rules.
  • School Crossing Guards: Trained crossing guards assist pedestrians in safely crossing streets, particularly at busy intersections near schools.
  • Safe Routes to School Programs: These programs encourage students to walk or bike to school by identifying safe routes, promoting pedestrian safety education, and coordinating with local authorities for infrastructure improvements.
  • School Zone Audits and Assessments: Periodic evaluations of school zone safety, including traffic flow and potential hazards, can identify areas for improvement.

By implementing a combination of these measures, communities can create safer environments in and around school zones, ultimately prioritizing the well-being and security of students and all those who use these areas.