Back-to-school can be a potentially dangerous time on Oklahoma City streets, as buses, heavy school zone traffic and high concentrations of inexperienced teen drivers compound to significantly increase the risk of sustaining auto accident injuries. According to the National Safety Council, more children are hit by cars near schools than at any other location.
After any school zone accident, contact an experienced Oklahoma City car accident attorney. Injury victims have legal rights which must be protected.
School Zone Accidents Across Oklahoma
There have been many tragic school zone accidents in Oklahoma which devastate victims and their families. In Tulsa, a four-year-old girl was killed after being struck by an SUV in the driveway to her school parking lot. KTUL reports that, in the days following the 2013 accident, Tulsa Public School Police responded to the school to direct traffic and increase driver awareness of school zone safety.
Earlier in 2013, an Oklahoma City mother died while teaching her teenage daughter how to drive. KFOR reports that the accident inspired Antioch Christian Academy officials to petition for a stoplight and school zone markings near the area where the accident occurred. The traffic commission did not support the measure, which the City Council ultimately denied.
In 2014, a father accidentally hit and killed his own 4-year-old son while dropping the child off at school. 5 News Online reports that that the parent was conducting a carpool, and began pulling out of the parking lot after the children had exited his vehicle. The four-year-old ran back to the car unexpectedly. The father, unable to see his son, struck and killed the child.
This gut-wrenching tragedy reminds us all of the immense caution we must use in school zones, knowing small children may be nearby and are often unpredictable.
How Oklahoma City 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. 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 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, indeed, 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.
- Teach your teen driver to be particularly cautious in and around their high school. High schools have high concentrations of young, inexperienced drivers. Teen drivers should be prepared to respond to erratic movements, pedestrians, heavy traffic, and other hazards they will face at their school.
- Establish and enforce family rules for distracted driving. Smartphones should only be used in the event of an emergency while driving. Texts can wait, and there is never a reason to access Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, or other such apps while driving.