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Back to School Safety Tips for Chicago Students and Parents

August 15, 2017

Back to school season can be an exciting time of year for Chicago families, but it can also be dangerous, as buses, school zone traffic, and high concentrations of inexperienced teen drivers combine to significantly increase the risk of car crash injuries. According to the National Safety Council, more children are hit by cars near schools than at any other location. After any collision, injury victims have the legal right to be compensated for their injuries. An experienced Chicago car accident attorney will protect the legal interests of you and your student. 

Car Accidents and Negligent Driving Put Chicago Area Students in Danger

Sometimes, car accidents are caused by gross negligence on the part of a driver. This is what happened when a Barrington High School student was struck by a car while walking. The Chicago Tribune reports that the driver was traveling at ninety-three miles per hour in a twenty-five zone. Both the pedestrian and a passenger in the vehicle (another Barrington High student) were killed, while the driver survived. He has been charged with reckless homicide.

But it is not just gross negligence that puts students and parents at risk. Distracted driving is becoming a pervasive and dangerous problem across the country. Chicago drivers are not immune to the temptation to adjust navigation or entertainment systems while driving, or to use their ever-present smartphones. 2017 traffic deaths are on pace to reach their highest levels since 2007 and that distracted driving was a major factor in this increase. 625 ILCS 5/12-610.2 prohibits use of electronic communications devices by drivers operating a moving vehicle in Illinois.

How Chicago Students, Parents, Teachers and School Staff Can Stay Safe

  • Familiarize yourself with drop off and pickup procedures at your child’s school before the school year starts. If possible, leave home early to allow time for slower school zone traffic and for learning a new routine. Heavy traffic and impulsive children can make it difficult to know where to go once school is in session.
  • Do not double park or otherwise block visibility. In crowded conditions, it is especially important that drivers be able to see around other vehicles.
  • Do not make impulsive or unexpected movements. In a crowded parking lot, other drivers will often have no space nor time to react to your movements. Signal movements well in advance, and execute movements slowly to ensure your path is clear.
  • Be prepared to react to sudden movements from both other vehicles and children entering or exiting the school. Young children, especially, are impulsive, and do not always follow proper safety protocol near schools. Allow yourself enough time and space to react to any unexpected obstacles.
  • Be cautious around school buses. It is illegal to drive around a school bus while its stop sign arm is on. Drivers should also be patient as children enter and exit school buses.