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Ensuring Safety: Examining Portland Drivers and School Zone Risks

Whether school children walk to school or ride the bus, they face risks. As many as 25,000 school kids in the United States get hurt annually while they are trying to get to school or to get home from class. A personal injury lawyer knows that these children may be injured or killed by drivers who make unsafe decisions while operating their vehicles. 

Unfortunately, new evidence indicates that drivers are taking even more risks that could adversely impact the safety of school children. Drivers need to avoid distractions, stay focused on the road and obey the law in order to keep kids safe.

Avoiding School Zone Distracted Driving Accidents

More drivers today than ever before are driving while distracted, and this is causing motorists to behave unsafely in school zones and even to pass stopped school buses with greater frequency.

According to one NBC News report, there were two million more motorists who illegally passed stopped school buses in 2012 than in 2011. American Traffic Solutions attributes drivers passing school buses in greater numbers in part to an increase in distracted driving. NBC News even showed a video of a semi-truck passing a stopped bus and nearly striking a girl who was at the side of the road. The driver of the truck said that he was distracted when he later turned himself in to the police for passing the bus.

A report from Safe Kids USA also shows that there are a lot of drivers who are driving through designated school zones while distracted. In fact, one out of every six motorists passing through a school zone was focused on something other than the wheel. In total, out of every 1,000 male drivers there were 154 distracted men and out of every 1,000 female drivers there were 187 distracted women driving through school zones.

The drivers who were not focused enough on the road were distracted by a lot of different things. Out of every 1,000 drivers going through a school zone:

  • 98 were using an electronic device, including cell phones.
  • 44 were smoking, drinking or eating while driving.
  • 19 were looking behind them or were reaching behind them.
  • Nine were grooming.
  • Three were reading.

In school zones where there was a higher traffic volume with 10,000 or more cars passing through per day, the rate of distracted drivers was higher. There were also more distracted drivers in larger vehicles such as minivans, pickup trucks and SUVs. Unfortunately, in their bigger vehicles, these drivers can do more damage to young children in the event that an accident happens. If a school zone did not have flashing lights, there were also more likely to be higher numbers of distracted drivers.

While there were people distracted going through active school zones both during the morning and the afternoon hours, motorists were also more likely to be distracted after school had let out for the day.

Unfortunately, any time a distracted motorist travels through a school zone, he puts himself and others at risk. Victims need to understand their rights when a collision happens in a school zone due to driver distraction.

Portland, OR accident victims should contact Zbinden & Curtis, Attorneys at Law, by calling 1-503-287-5000 or visiting

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