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Safe Driving Near Schools? One-hour Observational Study Records Shocking Number Of Distracted Drivers

November 14, 2018

From the time that we learn to drive, we are taught to use caution while behind the wheel. This is especially so when there are children in the area, and no areas are more crowded with children than those near schools. This is why speed limits near schools are so low and vigilance by drivers is expected to be very high. Fines for traffic violations in school zones are in many areas higher than if they occur somewhere else, and the thinking behind these laws is obvious – we need to do everything possible to keep our kids safe from negligent motorists.


Unfortunately, it does not appear that every motorist is paying attention as he or she drives near schools. The Allstate Foundation has been funding a program that is known as Roadwatch in California, and it is administered by the California Friday Night Live Partnership. Roadwatch conducts observational studies with students in an effort to bring about awareness of prevalent driving mistakes and problems.

Recently, Roadwatch had observers set up in areas near schools across California for a period of one hour, and their mission was to count the number of distracted drivers they noticed. According to the statistics reported, the number of distracted drivers was shockingly high. During that one hour of observation, more than 7,000 distracted drivers were noticed by those who were watching. People were set up at 70 different intersections near high schools in 24 different counties in California, and these observations were made on a Tuesday.

This number breaks down further to equal more than 100 distracted drivers at every intersection during that hour, and the most common distractions noted were as follows:

  • In-hand cellphone use – 31 per hour/per site
  • Eating or drinking – 30 per hour/per site
  • Personal grooming – 12 per hour/per site
  • Smoking – 6 per hour/per site
  • Loud radio volume – 6 per hour/per site
  • Wearing headphones – 4 per hour/per site
  • Pet on driver’s lap – 4 per hour/per site
  • Reading – 1 per hour/per site

There are several conclusions that can be drawn from this short study, including:

  • People are not getting the message regarding the dangers of distracted driving.
  • People are not following the laws regarding the use of cell phones while behind the wheel.
  • Cell phones are hardly the only cause of distracted driving.
  • Even near schools, people are not driving cautiously.

Regardless of the specific conclusions that are drawn, it appears that none of them are positive. It is also quite reasonable to assume that this problem is not limited to schools in California, as this is most likely a danger that exists everywhere. Parents of children should take some time to teach them that they should not assume the best when walking in traffic near schools.


People who are harmed because of distracted drivers also need to take action. If this includes you or someone you love, contact the Las Vegas lawyers at Bernstein & Poisson today to schedule a free initial consultation.

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