October 30, 2015
Schools are supposed to be safe havens for our children. Most have crossing guards, security guards, and other staff whose job is to ensure maximum protection. Driving onto or around a school should be done with a heightened sense of awareness.
Unfortunately, drop off and pick up times in school zones are perfect storm of hazards. I am lucky to be able to walk my daughter to school once a week and have observed the surge of vehicles with children swirling all around. There are parents rushing to get kids to school on time or get them dropped off quickly so they aren't late for work. Some children are allowed to walk, ride or scoot to school without their parents and their behavior may be unpredictable. It can be a chaotic scene.
Sadly, such a scene resulted in a terrible accident at Monte Vista Elementary School in Vista today. At approximately 8:30 a.m. a six year old boy was struck by a car and had to be flown by emergency responders to the hospital. His father was also injured in the accident and was taken by ground ambulance to a nearby hospital with serious injuries. The cause of the accident and extent of injuries are unknown. Local news reports that some parents at the school feel there are dangerous traffic problems and have been pushing to improve traffic enforcement around the school. The school is located at 1720 Monte Vista Rd. near Valley Drive.
The California Driver Handbook acknowledges the importance of extra safety measures in a school zone and states:
"When driving within 500 to 1,000 feet of a school while children are outside or crossing the street, the speed limit is 25 mph unless otherwise posted. Also, if the school grounds have no fence and children are outside, never drive faster than 25 mph. Some school zones may have speed limits as low as 15 mph. Always drive more carefully near schools, playgrounds, parks, and residential areas because children may suddenly dart into the street. Also, many children have not yet developed the ability to judge speeds and distances well enough to cross streets safely when cars are moving fast."
Intersection at Monte Vista Elementary School in Vista, CA