If you drive in Arizona, you are charged with the knowledge of all applicable traffic laws and rules in the areas in which you drive. If you are like a typical driver in Maricopa County, odds are that you drive through a school zone on a regular basis. The rules of a school zone tend to vary from the rules applicable to the surrounding areas and if you fail to heed the school zone rules, you may face a traffic ticket, criminal charge, or even be responsible for causing an accident that harms a child.
School zones in the Phoenix area tend to be marked with a 15 mile per hour speed limit during morning and afternoon school hours. Drivers are required to slow their speeds, if necessary, before entering a marked school zone and must keep their speeds at or below the posted speed limit until after they exit the school zone. School zone speed limits tend to only be active during school days and therefore do not apply during marked hours on the weekends or over school breaks.
Crosswalks in school zones should be approached with extreme caution as drivers are required to stop if any pedestrian is present in the area. This means that even if an adult is entering a crosswalk on the other side of the street, a driver must stop before entering the crosswalk and may not proceed until the crosswalk is clear.
Drivers in a school zone cannot pass other motorists who are proceeding through the zone and should be extremely cautious when approaching stopped vehicles. Often, children exit stopped cars or dart among cars without looking for oncoming traffic first, leading to a potential situation where a driver is involved in a pedestrian accident.
School buses are present in school zones on most days and should be given a wide berth when necessary. If a school bus pulls to a stop and activates its lights and stop signs, all approaching drivers must stop and wait until the school bus has completed its pickup or drop off of students. Further, drivers on both sides of a roadway should be alert as kids may be crossing from one side of the road to the other even if a crosswalk is not immediately present.
It is the responsibility of each and every driver to act in a manner that keeps our children safe and failing to do so can cause devastating consequences. If your child or minor was injured in an accident or if someone you love was hurt in a school zone crash, know that you may be entitled to financial compensation for the damages done to your family. Consulting with a personal injury attorney can help you realize what legal options, if any, you may possess and how you can obtain the relief you deserve.
Prior Blog Entry:
What to Do if Your Child is Injured in a Pedestrian Accident this Thanksgiving, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published November 14, 2016.
Better safe than sorry: Arizona school zones aim to provide safe crossings, by Kohinoor Kar and Mike Cynecki, Arizona Department of Transportation, published April 16, 2011.