Believe it or not, children across the state of Tennessee will be heading back to school in only a few weeks, meaning there are supplies to be purchased, projects to finish, schedules to arrange and, of course, phone calls to make. However, it appears as if parents and children aren't the only ones busy making preparations for the start of the school year.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol recently issued a reminder to all motorists to exercise the utmost caution while driving in school zones and around neighborhoods where children are present. Failure to do so, they warn, elevates the risk of serious car accidents, bus accidents and pedestrian accidents. It can also result in the issuance of a rather expensive traffic citation, including up to $500 for speeding in a school zone and up to $1,000 for passing a stopped school bus picking up or unloading students.
For those motorists who may question whether the Highway Patrol will follow through on its warnings, consider the following: During the 2012-2013 school year, troopers issued 5,247 school zone citations across the state, an increase of nearly 1,400 citations from the previous year.
Thus far, these efforts appear to be paying off as the number of car accidents occurring in school zones between the peak hours of 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. declined by seven percent from 2008 to 2012. In addition, school bus accidents fell by 73.5 percent during the same timeframe.
It should be noted that the Highway Patrol will also be recommencing its inspections of school buses to make sure they comply with the safety requirements set forth in state law.
Last year, inspectors took 1,367 school buses out of service for various issues, a small percentage of the 11,401 inspected. Current estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that 600,000-plus children ride the school bus in Tennessee on a daily basis.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car crash or bus accident, remember to consider speaking with a dedicated legal professional to learn more about how you can pursue justice.
Source: Tennessee Highway Patrol Newsroom & Media Center, "Tennessee Highway Patrol encourages back to school safety," July 31, 2013