Risky Roads

Students face dangers on their daily route to school without school zone

by Baysia Herron, Creative Director

Graphic by Baysia Herron

As students travel to and from school every day, they are faced with numerous dangerous situations on the road. In the area surrounding the school, there are even more hazards for students both on the road and on the sidewalks adjacent to the road. The density of cars in the area grows with each minute leading up to when the bell rings, and in an area with more cars, there is more risk for injury. Despite all the dangers students face when approaching the school, there is no school zone and everyone travels at the normal speed of 35 mph no matter the time of day.

In hopes of securing the safety of all students, a school speed zone should be implemented in the area surrounding the school.

In the state of Texas, all students who reside within a two-mile radius of the school are not provided with school bus transportation and must either walk, bike, drive or be driven to school every day. During their commute to school, none of the cars driving past them have to reduce their speed, which poses a serious threat to the students traveling to school. Despite the dangers, there are no crosswalks or crossing guards in front of the school to ensure the safety of students crossing the road during these high-traffic hours. Students are also at risk during lunch, since they are allowed to leave campus and many students who do not have a personal vehicle will walk down the street to one of the local restaurants. The church located directly across the street also offers free lunch and students have to cross Los Rios to get there. Students who own vehicles drive along these streets to get lunch and without a school speed zone enforcing a reduced speed, all of these students are at risk. Implementation of a school speed zone before and after school and during the lunch period would protect all the students that travel to and from school by foot and lower the risk of pedestrian injury.

  While the school, which is located on Los Rios Blvd., does not have a school zone, there are two school zones within two miles of the school for elementary schools that are not located on the main road. One school zone runs for Dooley Elementary, which is tucked inside a neighborhood half a mile away from the main road. The other school zone on Los Rios Blvd. is not nearby any school and is most likely just to ensure the safety of students boarding buses. Two other school zones nearby campus have been established and there are not any schools attached to the main road. However, there is no school speed zone for the school, which is located on Los Rios Blvd. and has a significant number of pedestrians and alternated traffic patterns during travel times.

Most of the drivers at the school are new, teenage drivers that are not completely aware of their surroundings. While school zones are most commonly used for young students that do not always watch for drivers, a school zone is imperative for new drivers that do not always watch for pedestrians. By reducing the speed during high-traffic times, drivers are warned to slow down and pay attention to their surroundings. In addition to promoting safety, a school speed zone also discourages speeding. Even if a driver speeds through a school zone, they are still driving at a lower speed than they would if it was a normal speed limit. In addition, the fines for a ticket in a school zone are much higher than normal fines, which helps prevent speeding around the school.

The school zone may be frustrating for drivers and could cause problems with the flow of traffic, especially before school when there is a rush of students all trying to get to school at the same time. Although it may be an inconvenience to drive slower when approaching the school, it ultimately ensures the safety of the students during their travels to and from school. Students may have to account for the reduced speed zone and leave earlier to arrive to school on time, but the safety of students is worth the couple extra minutes.

With the amount of pedestrian traffic, it is critical that the school has a school speed zone on Los Rios Blvd. and on the streets nearby the school. With an increased flow of traffic and pedestrians traveling to school, traveling at normal speeds puts students at risk every day. Implementing a school zone could reduce the risk of injury and accidents near campus and create a safer school environment.