school-zone-safety-imageAn 11th-grader at Davis High School in Houston was injured recently when she was struck by an SUV as she walked across Spears Road. KHOU reported that the intersections there lack crosswalks or guards and that parents say something must be done to keep students safer.

Areas surrounding schools are often designated as school zones, with reduced speed limits and crosswalks. At elementary schools, crossing guards often are present to assist children in their morning walk to school. Usually, these safety efforts are aimed at preventing students from being hit by cars. Sometimes, however, the need for safety precautions isn’t realized until it is too late.

Parents of Davis High School students say they know the area has a problem, namely that drivers don’t follow the speed limit on Spears Road.

 Safety Tips to Avoid Being Hit by a Car

From the time they enter elementary school, children are given safety tips to avoid hit by a car while walking to school. Though the tips can seem simple, they are relevant no matter your age:

  1. Cross the street only at the corner.
  2. Make eye contact with drivers to make sure they see you.
  3. Look left, right, and then left again before crossing.
  4. Walk on sidewalks or paths whenever possible. Walk in the street only as a last resort.
  5. Use crosswalks whenever possible, even if you must go out of your way to reach a crossing light on a busy street.

These tips hold true whether you are 7 or 70. Most pedestrian accidents happen when people cross mid-block and when drivers don’t see the people on foot. These simple precautions can reduce the risk of an accident.

But as children get older, their behaviors may change. Safe Kids Worldwide offers safety tips specific to certain age groups. For teens, the organization points out, cellphone use and socialization on the walk to school can be distractions that interfere with basic pedestrian safety.

  • If you have to use your phone, stop walking and find a safe area to talk or text.
  • If you’re wearing headphones, turn the volume down low enough to hear passing traffic and remove them when you need to cross the street.
  • Don’t let your conversations and good times distract you from staying safe and following the safety recommendations you’ve been using since you were young.

What Parents Can Do

In some areas, speed limits are not low enough for the pedestrian traffic. Likewise, crosswalks and sidewalks may be nonexistent or in disrepair. In cases like this, anyone can request the city address the problems.

The City of Houston employs a school coordinator who works with school officials to ensure the city is doing everything possible to keep children safe on their way to school. An application for a school zone designation can be made to this person, as can the request for a study.

The city’s Public Works and Engineering Department (pdf) receives written requests for studies of this nature. Parents can request such a study themselves, work in conjunction with school officials, or contact the school coordinator for more information.

Pedestrian accidents have the potential to be tragedies no matter who is involved. But an accident that injures a school child is particularly troubling. The schools and the city have a responsibility to reduce the risk of serious accidents, and when an accident occurs, the driver at fault may not be the only one who can be held responsible.

Houston Pedestrian Accident Attorney

If you or your child has been hit by a car, contact the Houston vehicle accident  attorney Kevin Krist to discuss your case and how we might be able to help. Contact us today by calling 832-924-3181 for a free consultation.