Many municipalities and schools around the state like to say that they are extremely concerned about the welfare of children as they walk to and from school. These sentiments are sincere and shared by all caring individuals in a community. This is why school zones are established, crossing guards are hired or volunteer, conduct while crossing the street is taught to the kids, and speed limits are strictly enforced.
However, as we monitor the news, we find that a child is hit by a car, and personally injured or killed everyday somewhere in the United States. There are tons of reasons why this happens, but many times the culprit lies in the fact that school traffic is only monitored to a certain point and in many cases these zones flow into residential areas that have no speed bumps, crosswalks, or sidewalks for that matter.
However, dangerous routes and intersections can be identified and the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) has created a program that could help make them safer.
Identifying Problem Areas
Some parents choose where they are going to live and raise their children specifically around the quality and proximity to schools. Even with that, one thing that makes any parents extremely nervous is setting their elementary school aged kids loose to travel to and from school.
Some parents choose to forgo the stress it causes by adjusting their schedules around the school schedule in order to pick up their kids, however, some parents don’t have this option because either their work is too much of commute to accommodate that schedule or their job doesn’t allow flexibility. Regardless, there are ways to make the route a little safer.
Identifying Dangerous Intersections
Walk the route to school alone searching for the safest route that feature:
- Side walks
- Light traffic
- Other kids
- Direct the route toward crossing guards
Walk or ride you bike along the route to school with your kids several times:
- Point out dangerous places to avoid.
- Show them the correct way to cross as each crosswalk.
- Show them the correct side of the street to walk/ride on.
- Show them good habits.
- Show them what to do, where to go if they feel in danger.
- Time the route and set an after school schedule.
Create a Safe Network:
- Get to know other parents who allow their kids to walk/ride to school and create a walking/riding group.
- Find out if there is a parent or friend that live along the route that the child can go to if they run into danger while on the way home.
- Meet the crossing guards.
- Know who at the school is in charge of the safety of the walking/riding children.
- Ask local law enforcement about problem intersections and pedestrian accident reports.
Changing Routes To Make Them Safer
Children will cut corners where they can. Young children will generally stay within designated routes, but as they get older and more independent, parents find that their kids will cut through fields, cut through alleys, and even yards in order cut mere seconds off of their route to school. In doing this, these short cuts could lead to dangerous intersections. That’s why the WTSC has put aside some money to help parents change things in their community.
School Zone Flashing Lights Grant – After identifying an intersection (or even a non-intersection), go to your school official and ask them to review and endorse your intent to place a flashing warning light. Then contact WTSC, fill out the proper forms, have the official sign them, and apply for the grant.
Mini-Grants Under $500- WTSC will set up equipment (vests, flags, etc), a set of rules, and training if you want to create, update, or expand a crossing guard program. You just need to find an advocate at the school, fill out the proper forms from WTSC, and have that official sign them. Note: this is only in school zones
Law Enforcement Equipment Grants – WTSC will also provide more radar guns and rain jackets for law enforcement that patrol school zones. This will make local law enforcement happy and may inspire an extra patrol here and there along common school routes.
Seattle Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Phillips Law Firm represents families of victims who have been injured or died in car accidents in Washington state. They are skilled attorneys in wrongful death lawsuits and personal injury lawsuits with years of experience that they will use to assure the you get the compensation you deserve. Call today for a free consultation.