According to a Seattle Department of Transportation (DOT) report, a pedestrian hit by a vehicle traveling at 40 mph only has a 10% chance of surviving, while a pedestrian hit by a vehicle traveling at 20 mph has a 90% chance of surviving—a good reason for school zones to have 20 mph limits, especially considering that those ages 5 to 14 have the highest pedestrian crash rate of any 10-year age group.
Improving safety for pedestrians starts with improving vehicle driver compliance: educating drivers in this way can help parents feel more confident about allowing their children to walk to school, and we know that walking builds good habits, improves health and wellness, and reduces congestion in school zones, among many other benefits. Happier, healthier people can mean cost savings, better livability, and improved economics for your municipality.
The videos below explore several solutions to help vehicle drivers reduce speed, pay attention to signs, and become more compliant in school zones.
NOTE: Please keep in mind this is a general guideline only based on the FHWA’s MUTCD: your state and/or local jurisdiction may have different school zone design and sign placement standards to meet their unique safety concerns.
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Help drivers focus on school signage
When a school zone intersection, blind corner, or other location is problematic, adding beacons that flash 24 hours a day to new or existing signage can help improve driver awareness. These warning sign flashing beacons heighten the visibility of signs, increasing sign compliance and safety for all road users. They have been proven to double the stop rate and even reduce crashes at stop-controlled intersections. Stop, Yield, Curve Ahead, Wrong Way, and nearly any other sign type are excellent candidates for 24-hour flashing beacons.
Here are some ways municipalities, agencies, and others have used warning flashers:
- Wyoming Department of Transportation sought a solution to reduce their high percentage of fatal vehicle incidences on rural roads, and turned to flashing “stop ahead” warning signs.
- A US Customs and Border Protection location in Texas supplemented existing signage with flashing beacons to improve driver awareness and reduce speeds at a border checkpoint area.
- Clark County Department of Public Works installed stop sign beacons to lower stop-controlled intersection blow-throughs. After installation, they reduced the number of drivers that blew through the stop signs by over 90%!