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Back to School — The Importance of Driver Safety in School Zones

Posted on: September 20th, 2019

As the calendar turns from July  to August, Oklahoma students begin preparing to return to school.

This is exciting ― especially for parents — but, sadly, with a new school year often comes a rise in school zone accidents. The safety of school-related transportation  has long been a serious problem in Oklahoma. 

Indeed, last year, KTUL ABC 8 reported that a transportation firm gave Oklahoma an “F” for school zone safety — putting it near the bottom of the country. A number of different issues were raised regarding Oklahoma schools, including the design of “pick up” and “drop off” zones and the conduct of drivers. 

Teen Drivers are at the Greatest Risk of Crash

Many teen drivers in Oklahoma driver themselves or their younger siblings to school. Although this is a great option for many families, it is important that proper safety precautions are taken.  Inexperienced, younger drivers must practice defensive driving habits. Further, they should be especially careful when going through or near school zones. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that teen drivers are more than nine times more likely to be involved in an accident than are older drivers. 

As explained by Oklahoma car accident attorney Roger Dodd,

”Parents should take proactive measures to instill safe driving habits in their child. Among other things, it is recommended that parents and caregivers take time to practice driving with their teenager, sign them up for supplemental safety and training courses, and teach them the dangers of texting while driving. Finally, if you discover that your teen is driving in an unsafe manner, you should take the keys away from them. Driving is a privilege. Their safety and the safety of others must come first.” 

Back to School Safety Tips for Drivers Young and Old

Of course, school transportation safety is about more than just teens. Everyone needs to practice safe driving practices. Additionally, parents and school officials should watch out for young children when they are near roads. The National Safety Council (NSC) offers the following four back to school safety tips for drivers of all ages and experience levels: 

  1. Slow down in school zones, especially during prime school hours;
  2. Watch out for bicyclists and pedestrians; 
  3. Always drop off students in designated safety zones; and
  4. Give school buses plenty of space to operate. 

The start of a new school year is an exciting time for parents and children. With the proper back to school safety habits, we can dramatically reduce the risk of car accidents, bus accidents, and pedestrian collisions in Oklahoma.