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Back to School Means Traffic and Pedestrian Safety

The beginning of the new school year is an exciting time. Children are anxious to see their classmates, talk about their summer vacations, meet their new teachers and crack open those new school supplies. It means that school buses will be ever present with children, parents will be dropping off their little students, and crossing guards will be positioned to usher students safely across the street to school. But the new school year also means something for motorists. It means slow down, pay attention, proceed cautiously, and obey the law.

According to the Nevada Department of Transportation, between 2009 and 2013, 247 pedestrians lost their lives and 736 were seriously injured on Nevada roadways. Each year pedestrian tragedies keep increasing, and state and local law enforcement anticipate 2016 will be no different. Pedestrian versus automobile incidents are preventable, and NDOT has launched its EPEDemic campaign to educate the public about pedestrian and motorist safety. Recently, attention has been turned to pedestrian incidents occurring in school zones. With the efforts of the Center for Traffic Safety Research and Southern Nevada Pedestrian Education and Legislation Task Force, the Nevada Legislature turned its attention to pedestrian incidents in school zones.

According to the Center for Traffic Safety Research, between 2008 and 2012, 287 youth were involved in a pedestrian accident. Nearly half of child pedestrian accidents resulted in serious or deadly injuries. http://med.unr.edu/ctsr/pedestrian-safety

Last year the Nevada legislature enacted a new law designed specifically for pedestrian safety in school zones. This new law makes it unlawful for any driver to make a u-turn or to pass another vehicle in a school zone when children are present. See Senate Bill 144. Motorists, who are always tasked with obeying the traffic laws, must be mindful of this important safety law, too. If a motorist is caught breaking the law they will be cited for a moving violation and fined.

Motorists and pedestrians alike can take action to prevent these tragic incidents. For starters, motorists can put down their phones and avoid distracted driving. They must pay attention, slow down, and proceed cautiously while in school zones. They must also always look left and right look to make sure there are no children in their pathway. Pedestrians, too, should put down their phones or electronic devices and remove their earbuds to avoid any distractions while walking. They, too, must pay attention to traffic, and be sure to make eye contact with the driver of a vehicle before crossing the street. The Center for Traffic Safety also suggests that parents walk with their children to school first before allowing them to walk to school on their own, to ensure that they know where it is safe to cross the street. Working together motorists and pedestrians can reduce the number of incidents on our roadways and ensure a safe and happy school year for all!

If you or a loved one has been the victim of another’s negligence, contact the attorneys at Bertoldo, Baker, Carter & Smith, Chtd. We offer free consultations and will advise you of your rights.

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