Citizens are very concerned about potential dangers to children around schools. Sometimes the danger is closer than most people think. Careless drivers put more kids in jeopardy than the creeps that cruise around schools.
Are you one of the drivers who are always in a rush when dropping the children off at school? Do you run stop signs, park in the teacher's lot, or drive and drop like it's a one way street? Do you always have a cup of coffee and a cell phone in your hand? If you've answered yes to any of the above questions, consider yourself a danger to children, pedestrians, and other drivers.
I'm not sure if the current crop of drivers is worst than previous generations, or are other factors involved like over crowding, multi tasking, more young drivers, more old drivers or other reasons not mentioned. A day hasn't gone by that when taking my daughter to her elementary school, that I don't count at least a couple of serious road violations within the five minute trip.My biggest pet peeves are:
- 3 point turns after dropping a student off.
Solution: Go straight and make 3 right turns and you'll be going the desired direction. You're creating gridlock by making cars wait for you in both directions. You might back up and run over a child with their parent
- Crossing to the wrong side of the street by pulling up to the gate and letting your child get out from the drivers side.
Solution: This is straight out and out illegal and dangerous, and those who pull this move need to spend a night or two in jail.
- Talking on a cell phone while dropping off a student.
Solution: Talk to your child not your friends or coworkers. Nothing is that important that it can't wait until after you've navigated away from the school. California Governor signed a law that goes into affect in July of 2008. Motorists are banned from holding their cell phones while driving unless they're using a headset, ear bud or other technology that frees both hands. This is a great start however the fine is a pitiful $20* for the first offense and $50 every time after, but none of the tickets will impact the driver's insurance. This is a joke; driving while holding a phone is dangerous. You're losing the ability to look over your left shoulder and making dangerous driving decisions. Especially when the other hand has a cup of coffee. As previously noted, you're not that good of a driver with two hands, driving with your knees is suicide.
- Drinking coffee while dropping off a child.
Solution: Wait until you are out of the school zone for your next sip of Java. Get a cup holder and don't take a gulp until you're on the road.
- Pulling into the teachers lot to drop off your child.
Solution: It's called the teachers lot for a reason, STAY OUT!
- My # 1 Pet peeve is parents who park in the restricted bus zone. This area is for the bus to pull in to drop children off and pick them up. When you park there the bus needs to double park leaving young children to walk between cars which is dangerous. You are putting your desire for convenience of not walking half a block over the safety of other people's children. Also by making the bus double park cars need to go head on into traffic to go around causing more danger. It stops traffic and could cause a head-on collision.
Solution: Stop being so lazy and park further away. If you are running late then do stop drop and go or just have your child be late. The buses are for kids. If it was your child you would not want them to have to walk between cars that might not see them when they're getting off the bus. Also many of the buses transport special needs children who need to step directly on the sidewalk. If you are parking in the bus zone you are putting their lives at risk for the sake of your convenience. It is not only illegal it is morally wrong
When people break these types of rules they are not trying to be bad people but they are being completely self-centered. You need to think about more than your own convenience when driving to school and dropping off your child. If we can use common sense and follow a few simple rules, we can keep all our children safe as well as other motorists.
* Other new laws that are in or going into affect in California 2008 can be found at http://www.dmv. ca. gov/about/leg/leginfo_dl.htm
Alycia Shapiro is cofounder of SensoryEdge. She has a special needs child and has learned to advocate for services children need in order to advance during their formulative years. Many parents either have difficulty getting the proper services or might not know these services are available. SensoryEdge was created to offer educational toys and therapy products to enchance learning while having fun. Since its inception in 2003, SensoryEdge has added over 3000 items, including Playroom Furniture, and Classroom Rugs.