Car Accidents in School Zones: Legal Responsibilities and Safety Precautions

School Zone

More than 700-thousand children are enrolled in Alabama public schools, and many depend on school buses for their daily commute to and from school. Others walk or bike to school or depend on a parent or caretaker to drive them. 

School zones have been established to keep these children safe. Even though Alabama law specifies that motorists must reduce their speed in a school zone to 25 mph, many ignore the speed limits and drive distracted. 

Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents are on the rise in Alabama, and teens ages 12 to 19 account for a 13 percent increase in deaths and half of pedestrian fatalities, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. 

In 2016, Safe Kids reported that five teen pedestrians were killed weekly in the U.S. These accidents occurred in daylight and many in the middle of the day when school was in session. 

Posted signs indicate the beginning of the speed zone and the maximum driving speed. The end of the school zone will be marked where a motorist can resume their speed. 

School Zone Precautions

In the congested school zone, especially during the start and end of school, drivers and children must be aware of the following: 


Parents should educate their children about school zone safety and understand that a bus has a blind spot about ten feet around the bus. 


Drivers must understand that they must be mindful as the bus slows and stops to load and unload children. Drivers must lower their speed in a school zone and never drive distracted around a school.


Don’t forget to stop your vehicle when the stop signal arm is lowered on a school bus, even if you are approaching from the other direction unless there is a median. You must remain stopped at least 20 feet from the bus until the bus turns off its light and retracts the stop sign. 

The bus must stop at a railroad crossing, and you should, too. Stay focused on your environment to avoid a collision with other cars, children, the bus, and bicyclists.


Teens must pay attention to their surroundings and put their smartphones in their backpacks on roads shared with vehicles. Distracted pedestrians are contributing to the rise in pedestrian injuries. 

School Bus Accidents 

In Alabama, over 8,000 school buses transport 350,000 students to travel more than 450,000 miles annually. While statistically, school bus transportation is safer than passenger vehicles because of their size, it is not without risks.

According to federal statistics, about 108 people were killed in school bus-related crashes in 2021. Most of those killed were in vehicles other than the school bus, and 16% were pedestrians, while about 5 % were on the bus.

There are laws and safety precautions to ensure drivers’ responsibility while traveling in a school bus zone and keeping children safe while riding the bus.

Alabama Bus Safety Law

Schools must establish designated zones where buses gather to collect and drop off students free of traffic congestion. There should be clear communication between the driver and the school about the safety procedures for picking up and dropping off students. 

Drivers must be adequately trained in driving and handling challenging situations and emergencies and follow school bus rules. 

Alabama law requires double the fine if convicted of a school zone speeding violation during the posted times. Bus maintenance and inspections are essential, and drivers must not drive distracted.

Filing an Alabama School Zone Lawsuit

If your child is injured in an Alabama school bus accident, Attorney Chip Nix can help. 

He will research the factors that led to the accident, identify the negligent party, and file a personal injury or negligence lawsuit. The school district can be named the at-fault party for hiring and training drivers responsible for the accident. 

A premises liability claim could also be filed if the school did not provide a safe bus stop area. Drivers who disobey the signs to reduce speed in a school zone can be held liable. The injured can receive compensation for damages such as medical expenses, and schools may implement safer practices due to our lawsuit. 

Contact Alabama Attorney at Law Chip Nix at 334-203-6669 to discuss your accident and help you recover compensation. 


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