Pulaski Country Special School District (Little Rock, Arkansas) experienced tragedy on the first day of school when a speeding car ignored school zone safety laws and hit local security officer Victor Montgomery. Local news attempted to remind drivers that in Arkansas, the law is no cell phone usage within a school zone, to drive no faster than 25mph if children are present, and if you see a bus stop or slow with flashing lights, other cars also need to stop. However, people that are conscious of these laws aren’t the type to drive negligently within a school zone.
According to Rainwater, Holt, and Sexton, 100 children are injured a year in accidents that occur in school zones. While people can conjecture multiple reasons for the accidents, ultimately, it’s because of reckless, distracted, or inattentive drivers.
Parents in Rapid City, SD, are also noticing more reckless drivers around school zones. Though this article blames an increase in injuries on distracted children, the fault is clearly on the drivers speeding through school zones, ignoring safety signs, and being distracted by their phones. Rapid City’s solution is to station more RCPDs in the school zones to ticket speeders ignoring school zone safety laws.
Earlier this year, in March 2023, 17-year-old Italian exchange student Giorgia Trocciola was hit while in the crosswalk outside of Doherty High School in Colorado Springs—the vehicle entered the intersection on a red light as she crossed. As a resident of Arkansas, I was unaware that Colorado Springs doesn’t automatically install school zone signage around high schools—reserving that for elementary, middle schools, and areas with speed limits over 30mph. After the tragic accident, city traffic engineer, Todd Frisbee, agreed to go ahead and install school zone signage and flashers to prevent such accidents in the future. Currently, Colorado Springs is discussing the addition of school zone signage and flashers around all high schools in the hopes of decreasing fatalities around school districts altogether.
We can tell people to pay attention to surrounding safety signs, but if someone is distracted or inattentive, it’s unlikely to make a difference. However, cities choosing to omit safety signage around our children’s schools altogether is its own issue. Please check on your city’s school zone requirements and insist on safety signage to keep our children and schools safe. Get your own free estimate here: https://www.interstatesignways.com/estimate !