Thoughtful drivers mean safe pedestrians

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Thoughtful drivers mean safe pedestrians

SHS Commons Parking Lot. Photo taken by Rebecca Lockman.

SHS Commons Parking Lot. Photo taken by Rebecca Lockman.

SHS Commons Parking Lot. Photo taken by Rebecca Lockman.

SHS Commons Parking Lot. Photo taken by Rebecca Lockman.

Rebecca Lockman, Contributing Writer

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Within the later weeks of Oct. 2018, there were multiple homicides involving minors caused by reckless driving. Six accidents occurred in the span of three days. One ended in the death of three siblings from a single family and injury to a fourth child, all under the age of ten. In 2017 alone, there were nearly 6,000 pedestrian fatalities caused by automobiles.

Drivers of all ages need to exercise more caution when behind the wheel. When in control of a piece of heavy machinery, attention to the road is not prioritized, putting many people at risk both in the car and outside of it.

At Solon High School (SHS), administrators have made sure there is student parking available behind the school and across the street at the Solon Community Park.

By having so many of the drivers park there, it actually increases the risk of accidents. Between  parent drivers, student drivers and student walkers there is more traffic—which has the potential to increase the number of incidents, since everyone is in a rush.

There have multiple reports of reckless driving seen from students.

“When getting out of the [parking lot] at the end of the day, people can be really aggressive,”  said SHS junior Alexandra (Sasha) Epelbaum.

Chaos ensues when the final bell rings, and the majority of student in the school rush to the exits. Even so, students end up— on average— stuck in traffic between five and 20 minutes trying to get to their next destination.

It causes stress for the teachers too.

“We usually wait until all of the students are gone before we even venture outside,” math teacher Michelle Speelman said.

Since the risk of being in an accident with a student is so great, many teachers prefer to leave at a later time.

Kids that walk to school are also impacted by the students driving down the street. Pedestrians must be attentive and understand ways that they can be safe. Freshman walker Josh Lockman* normally feels safe, but explains that it depends on the time of day.

“Sometimes when I’m walking down the street, I notice some kids going [nearly] 80 miles an hour down a main road, where kids [of all ages] cross,” Lockman said.   

This can be especially dangerous for young children who get out of school just before the high schoolers. They could be outside playing with a ball that goes into the street, or going home from the bus stop, and have the same chance of getting hit if the driver’s perception is compromised.

With technology everywhere, people become more distracted, and therefore unreliable. One out of every four car accidents are the result of texting and driving, and the numbers keep climbing. There seems to be an uncontrollable urge to pick up the phone and respond as soon as drivers hear a notification, and this distraction can kill.

There are multiple propositions for limiting encounters like these, specifically on school property. Between the students and teachers though, the ideas are very different.

“The one thing we’ve talked about as teachers, is instead of regulating the [amount of people allowed to drive in the parking lot], maybe adding some speed bumps on the driveway so that people, when they’re coming in and out, aren’t [speeding,]” Speelman said.

Speed bumps are meant to slow drivers and prevent them from speeding. By having students slow down to make it over the cement blocks safely, means that they will be more likely to check their surroundings and be more cautious of reaching high speeds. However, although they work great in the warmer months, speed bumps tend to be a problem for snow plows during the snowy weather.

Students like Epelbaum think that there is not a need to have anything added to the parking lot. The problem is in trusting students.

“I feel like if you’re willing to pay for the parking pass, and go through all the trouble of getting your insurance, license, and registration, you’re not going to abuse the privilege,” Epelbaum said.

The effort to obtain a pass to park behind the school requires all of the documents listed above, with the addition of a $25 payment.

Ridding ourselves of distractions and being vigilant to our surroundings will strongly influence the outcomes of many potential disasters. Gaining awareness on the issue of reckless student drivers can help to decrease the amount of accidents that occur, and keep children and adults safe.

 

*He is the cousin of Rebecca Lockman, but no bias influenced his responses.

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