Distracted Driving: Look Out for Children Going Back to School
A recent report by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that 29 percent of fatal pedestrian accident occur in the fall. This makes it the deadliest time of year for people crossing a road on foot. Unfortunately, distracted driving is a leading cause of these types of accidents. Now that school is back in session, the NHTSA reminds drivers to pay attention and respect school buses. Be prepared for them to stop often and stay a safe distance from their stop signs. Additionally, make sure you yield when a school bus is trying to merge.
It’s also important for drivers to pay attention to posted speed limits near schools. According to Florida statute 316.1895, school safety zone speed limits should not exceed 20 miles per hour. Many communities have posted signs that state the speed limit and the speed of each car passing by it. You could face hefty fines if stopped for speeding in a school safety zone.
Teach Your Children School Bus Safety
Even the youngest school children should understand bus safety to help avoid a tragic accident. You can model safe behavior by following the tips outlined above when your children are in the car. Bus safety starts at the bus stop. Let your children know they should stand back away from the road while waiting for the bus to arrive. This isn’t the time to run and play. Teach them to watch for the bus to arrive and display its flashing lights and stop sign. When it arrives, they should look left, right, and left a second time before crossing the street to get on the bus.
When exiting a school bus, children should walk in front to ensure that the driver sees them. Explain to your kids that the driver won’t be able to see them if they cross at the back of the bus. They should always cross at a stop sign or traffic light if available.
Top Causes of Distracted Driving in Florida
According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Department, distracted driving falls into the following three categories:
- Cognitive: This means the driver is thinking of other things and not completely focused on the road in front of him or her. Common examples include daydreaming and preparing a mental to-do list. Not being fully present slows the response time to a sudden situation, such as having to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting someone crossing the road.
- Manual: A manual distraction means that the driver takes his or her hands off the wheel to attend to something else. Changing the radio station, placing a phone call on a mobile phone and applying make-up are common examples.
- Visual: A visually distracted driver takes his or her eyes off the road to look at something else, such as a child fussing in the back seat or an attraction on the side of the road.
Texting while driving is an especially dangerous form of distracted driving because it requires the use of all three senses outlined above. Other types of distracted driving include eating, interacting with passengers in the vehicle, tending to unsecured pets, adjusting a Global Positioning System (GPS), and changing the car’s climate controls.
A driver must perceive a hazard immediately and stop the vehicle to avoid a crash. A driver’s perception distance, which is the distance the car travels from the moment the driver spots a hazard until his or her brain understands the danger, can increase greatly with any type of distraction. This means he or she may not be able to stop in enough time to avoid the crash.
Are You Dealing with the Consequences of a Distracted Driver?
At Crystal Collins Spencer, Attorney at Law, we understand that accidents happen. However, every driver has the legal obligation to drive as without distractions. If you or a family member sustained serious injuries in a crash with a distracted driver, you may be entitled to financial compensation. A winning lawsuit would cover your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and possibly non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. Please contact our experienced and compassionate Florida personal injury attorneys in our Fort Walton Beach office (850) 200-4652, our Pensacola office (850) 912-8080, or our Sandestin office (850) 424-6683 to request your free initial case evaluation or by using our website contact form.