It seems only yesterday that kids and teachers were saying, “School is out for summer!” And then, in the blink of an eye, those famous ten words began circulating throughout Craig County: “it’s about that time to do it all over again.”
Officer Kenny Davis recently brought to light some important information about safety in the schools’ parking lots, including a story that hits home with so many locals:
“Your morning does not start out well. Everyone in the house overslept. Your daughter is complaining that she is going to get a poor grade on her homework because she didn’t finish it, despite telling you that she did it. Your son overslept because he stayed up until two o’clock in the morning playing his Xbox.
You and your wife are arguing over who is going to take the kids to school because they missed the bus. Your wife wins the argument. On the way to school, there are arguments over your daughter being grounded for lying about getting her homework done while your son is angry because you are taking his Xbox from his room.
You pull into the school parking lot a little faster than you should and almost hit the car in front of you because they suddenly stopped without warning. You think, ‘Some people just do not know how to drive.’ You pull up in the line to drop off your children and the car in front of you is taking forever to get their kid out of the car. Why can’t people just drop their kid off and go on?
You tell your children to get out. Your daughter informs you that you are supposed to wait to pull up. You don’t have time. You have been late to work three times in the last two weeks, and your boss has not been happy. ‘Get out,’ you say. As soon as the last door shuts, you accelerate to go around the car at the same time the passenger door opens on the driver’s side.
You hit the open car door, tearing it off of its hinges. Thankfully the child had not started getting out of the car. You put your car in park and get out only to be confronted by an angry parent who berates you for your careless and irresponsible driving. You are really going to be late now.”
This story brings to light the question, “When you think of dangerous areas at school, do you ever think about the parking lot?” Officer Davis asked before saying, “You should.”
According to United Educators, personal injury and property damage in school parking lots have cost insurance companies $32 million over the last five years.
“The reasons for most of these accidents are often because of speed or distracted driving (talking on the cell phone, arguing with the children in the car, texting and general inattentiveness),” Davis said. “People ignore school signs such as reduced speed ahead, school buses only, loading and unloading zone, pedestrian crossings and even crossing guards.”
He noted that according to statistics, as many as 100 children are injured each year in school zones. Most of the injuries are due to many of the reasons listed above.
“Please remember that no job, no problem and no timetable are more important than the safety of the children being dropped off and picked up at school,” he said. “Your child could be the one that gets hit and injured.”
Officer Davis suggests that if time is a problem when dropping your children off or picking them up, perhaps leaving a little earlier could solve it. “If you are angry, frustrated or impatient, take a moment to calm down so that you will be more focused when driving,” he said before adding, “A few minutes will not make any difference to you, but it could make a big difference for a child in the school parking lot.”
Davis concluded, “Please drive safe in school zones.”