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Safety in school zones: keeping children safe

Portland drivers may know to avoid certain streets and intersections at school drop off and dismissal times. This is because these areas may be congested with extra traffic from parents hauling their children around as well as increased pedestrian activity from children walking to and from school. They may also know that zones near schools, parks and other places where child pedestrians may frequent are also subject to lower travel speeds.

Speed limits are dropped in these areas because drivers should exercise care and control when they may encounter children who are traveling on foot. Children can be difficult to see from the driver's seat of vehicles due to their small statures, and since they may follow their impulses and run into roads, drivers should be prepared to stop and avoid collisions with them.

Accidents between vehicles and children are unfortunately common and therefore drivers are held to a higher standard of care when they must operate their vehicles near them. Acting reasonably when children are present may mean driving under the speed limit, stopping to avoid collisions with pedestrians out of crosswalks and preparing one's self for sudden hazards when children dart out into roadways from sidewalks.

When a child is the victim of an auto-pedestrian accident, the outcome can be tragic. No family should have to cope with the loss of a child due to such a preventable form of harm, and children who are injured in collisions with vehicles may be entitled to compensation for their losses. As with any form of auto-pedestrian accident, a child victim may have rights to seek the recovery of their damages from the driver who caused their pain and suffering.

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