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Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury and Auto Accident Attorneys Helping Victims of School Zone Accidents

Every day in America, almost 100 children will be injured as a pedestrian in a school zone.  In the most serious of these school zone accidents, children ages 14-19 account for almost 55% of the deaths resulting from school zone accidents.  Our auto accident and personal injury law firm urges drivers and pedestrians to be safe in school zones. Should you or a loved one experience the worst, please contact our law firm and allow us to help you pursue justice.

What Causes School Zone Accidents?

The reasons for such a high rate of school zone accidents are obvious:  distracted pedestrians and distracted driving.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports the most common causes of children being distracted are:

  • Texting 39%
  • Headphones 39%
  • Cell phones 20%
  • Handheld video games 2%

Some of the same distractions affect drivers involved in school zone accidents.  The NHTSA identifies these issues as a main cause of school zone accidents:

  • Cell phone use
  • Looking at something outside the car (children coming out of school)
  • Using a device inside the car other than a cell phone
  • Eating or drinking
  • Adjusting the radio or AC

These type of distractions cause close to 3,000 deaths per year.

Florida’s School Zone Laws

Florida Statute §316.1895 states that a school zone speed limit may not be less than 15 miles per hour, but not more than 20 miles per hour.  The speed limits must be in place 30 minutes before and after the time periods when children are arriving and departing the school.    The school zone is required to have permanent signs marking the school zone, and flashing lights are recommended.

Florida Statute §316.305 allows law enforcement to stop motor vehicles and issue citations to drivers that are texting and driving.  It is illegal for a person to operate a motor vehicle while typing or entering letters, numbers, or symbols into a wireless device to text, email or instant message.

Florida Statute §316.306 prohibits the use of cell phones in a handheld manner while in a school or work zone.  A person may not use a cell phone in a handheld manner in a designated school crossing, school zone, or active work zone.

Braking Distance in a School Zone

The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle department estimates it can take triple the distance for a car to stop due to distracted driving.  For a car traveling 20 miles per hour in a school zone, it will take 22 feet for the driver to realize they are supposed to stop, another 22 feet for the driver to react, and another 25 feet for the car to stop.  In a school zone, accidents will occur if it takes a driver 69 feet to stop when only traveling 20 miles per hour.

Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle chart.

How to be Safe in a School Zone

Pedestrians and Bike Riders – stay off your cell phones and turn your headphones down so you can hear other people, cars, and horns.

  • Only cross the street in designated school crossing zones
  • Use the assistance of a school crossing guard whenever possible
  • Look both ways before you cross – don’t assume a car is going to stop

Drivers – pay attention to school driving zones and recognize there will be children running around, possible into traffic

  • Put your cell phones down – texting in a school zone is illegal
  • Be on the lookout for school crossing zones and school crossing guards
  • Follow the rules for drop off and pickup
  • Park in the designated area – not in the crosswalk or on the opposite side of the road
  • A good policy to follow is “heads up, phones down” to avoid school zone accidents

Winning Compensation for School Zone Accident Victims

School zone accidents are usually caused by a driver that is not paying attention, or is violating one of Florida’s school zone laws.  If it can be shown a driver violated one of Florida’s school zone laws, it can be argued that driver was “negligent per se”.  In other words, all you have to show is that the driver violated a school zone law, and that you were injured, and you can recover compensation for your injuries, lost wages, medical expenses and pain and suffering.

Even if a driver does not violate a school zone law, you can pursue compensation for your injuries if it can be shown the driver was negligent – that the driver should have been aware of the school zone area and slowed their car down to avoid causing an accident.  Particularly when the accident involves a child or young student, the child can suffer serious injuries, broken bones, scarring, and long-lasting mental effects from the accident.

Contact a Fort Lauderdale School Zone Accident Lawyer

The Maus Law Firm has been helping victims of school zone accidents for more than 25 years.  It is critical to contact a lawyer immediately after a school zone accident so that he can contact witnesses and preserve evidence.  The Maus Law Firm is knowledgeable about all Florida School Zone laws, and has litigated personal injury and auto accident claims throughout Florida.  Contact our attorneys now.