Traffic Safety Tips Near Schools; Motorists Reminded Schools Are Back in Session

January 6, 2009

Los Angeles: Each year, many City of Los Angeles school children are severely injured while being picked up or dropped off at neighborhood schools.  Motorists are reminded to drive more responsibly now that schools are back in session after holiday breaks.

To reduce traffic collisions, Los Angeles Police Department traffic officers recommend the following tips to motorists:

ALLOW EXTRA TIME.  Parents who arrive at school with their children late or at the last minute sometimes make poor driving choices that compromise safety.  Parents should prepare in advance, even the night before, if necessary, to ensure greater safety and less rushing when transporting students to school.
REDUCE SPEED NEAR SCHOOLS.  Drivers should be mindful that that the maximum speed limit near schools is 25 mph and may be even less when children are present.  Excessive speed is the most common cause of collisions near schools.
OBEY STOP SIGNS.  Though stop signs should always be heeded, doing so near schools is especially important.  Drivers should come to a full stop at all stop signs to check for small children. Drivers of larger vehicles such as vans and sport utility vehicles should be especially observant.  Early morning sun can add to the already existing condition of blind spots. Driving slower at intersections and crosswalks, with or without stop signs, can reduce collisions.
AVOID DOUBLE PARKING.  Drivers should not allow children to exit vehicles that are double parked.  Double parking hinders other traffic, causes congestion and creates hazards for children crossing streets.
AVOID U-TURNS.  U-turns are unsafe within school zones.  Near schools, U-turns should only be made at intersections when it is safe to do so, providing there are no signs that prohibit them.
It is also important to understand a child’s limited understanding of traffic laws and to recognize they are children making serious decisions.  In general, children do not easily judge a car’s speed or distance and often assume that if they can see an approaching car, the driver must also be able to see them.