School is back in session in and around Las Vegas. With that in mind, our thoughts turn to the safety of children as they travel to and from school. There are many things to consider when driving in Las Vegas and Clark County, especially as the new school year gets underway. Below is our list of things to consider regarding sharing the road with school kids.
Obey School Zone Speed Limits
There is really no area of Las Vegas, where there is not a school nearby. In addition to Clark County School District (CCSD), there are many private schools and daycares that may also qualify for school zone status. School zone warning signs can be on the busiest streets and on the quietest residential drives. Pay attention and realize that school zone speed limits are strictly enforced.
To avoid a ticket, slow down to the posted speed limit wherever you see a school zone sign. If no speed is posted, the speed limit is 15 mph. On the busier streets, there is often a flashing yellow light on the back of the school zone sign coming the opposite direction, to designate the end of the school zone. Keep in mind, the police regularly patrol school zones and your likelihood of getting a ticket in a school zone is high.
Crosswalks may or may not have crossing guards. In either case, be aware when you see a crosswalk and use caution.
To avoid tickets when a crossing guard is present, be sure to obey their instructions. Once the stop sign goes up, you must stop and wait for students to cross. Nevada law provides that you will be charged with a misdemeanor for failure to comply with the guard’s instructions. If you disobey a guard’s instructions, and then collide with a pedestrian or bicycle rider, additional penalties will be added under the law.
If a guard is not present, slow down and be aware that kids may be crossing the street on the way to or from school.
Under Nevada law, once the red lights begin to flash on a school bus, you may not pass the bus, until the bus turns the red lights off. Many school buses have yellow lights which flash first, before the red lights come on and the bus actually stops. While it’s not advisable to pass on the yellow lights, the law does not prohibit it. Keep in mind, the law provides a method for school bus drivers to file a report on drivers who pass when the red lights are flashing.
Watch for School Children Pedestrians and Bicyclists
Near many larger schools, you may see large groups of pedestrian students walking on the sidewalks of busier streets. Students may also use bikes and skateboards to get to and from school. Slow down and use caution as these factors can present an unpredictable situation.
Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicles. Leave three feet between your car and any bicyclist you encounter. Watch out for bicyclists who may turn in front of you without signaling.
Groups of students gathering at neighborhood bus stops are another area of concern. Many times, even on less busy streets and with traffic approaching, kids may dart out into the street and present an unsafe situation. When you see this, slow down and keep in mind that police may be nearby to avoid citations.
Watch for Traffic Backups at School Entrances
In general, many of our schools are on high traffic streets. It’s best to avoid those areas, if possible. However, if you can’t find an alternate route expect there to be traffic tie-ups in and around the entrance to the school property during drop-off and pick-up peak times.
When driving near high schools it’s important to consider many nearby drivers may be young students with limited driving experience. Be patient when nearing school entrances to avoid accidents and tickets.
Do not block crosswalks near schools, as this may force those using the crosswalk to go around you into moving traffic.
Dropping Off or Picking Up Kids at School
Schools usually have designated drop off and pick up procedures. If you’re dropping off, or picking up kids, make yourself aware of that school’s procedures. To make things safe, don’t double park, don’t drop off kids across the street from the school, and carpool to reduce the number of vehicles at the school.
Richard Harris Law Firm Can Help You if You’ve Been in an Accident
Always exercise due care behind the wheel, especially with the new school year getting underway. Patience with the additional traffic load on the roadways will go a long way to make the school year safe for you, and the students going to school. If you get in an accident, call us to discuss your situation at (702) 444-4444.