With schools open again, drivers need to be especially careful

School is in session again, which means that drivers need to be especially vigilant in school zones.

Schools across Georgia and the United States are opening again and that means that motorists need to be especially careful, particularly in school zones. As the Augusta Chronicle reports, the AAA has launched its annual "School's Open - Drive Carefully" safety campaign with multiple stops across Georgia. The campaign is aimed at reducing the number of car accidents involving both student drivers and young pedestrians. Motorists should be especially vigilant during after-school hours and refrain from distracted driving.

School zone accidents

In 2015, accidents in school zones led to 373 student deaths and more than 11,000 injuries. Those sort of alarming statistics show just why it is so important for drivers to be careful and to slow down in school zones. School zones present a number of risks, not only because child pedestrians can be unpredictable, but also because there are more likely to be teen drivers in school zones who are at a higher risk of being involved in a collision.

As WXIA News reports, drivers need to be particularly vigilant in school zones during after-school hours. That's because almost a third of child pedestrian fatalities occur in the hours between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., when children are more likely to be out of class and walking or playing outside.

How to stay safe

AAA's "School's Open - Drive Carefully" campaign recently went on a tour of schools across Georgia to highlight things drivers, parents, and children can do to stay safe during the school season. Most importantly, drivers need to slow down when they are in a school zone. Even a 5 mph reduction in speed can make it much easier to come to a sudden stop and greatly reduces the chances of a pedestrian accident turning fatal. Children are also unpredictable, which is why drivers need to put away their cellphones while driving and focus exclusively on the road.

Parents should also talk to their children about the importance of not running out into the street and looking both ways before crossing. Parents who have teenage drivers need to talk to their children about driving safely. Car crashes are the number one cause of death for American teens and a quarter of all fatal teen-driver accidents happen in the after-school hours between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Getting help after an accident

For those who have been hurt in a car accident or whose loved one has been injured, it is important to talk to a personal injury attorney in a timely manner. While an attorney cannot undo the pain and damage that an accident has caused, they can help clients understand what legal options may be availa ble, including whether they can pursue financial compensation to help them during their recovery process.