The roads around your kid's school are more dangerous than you think
1 in 3 drivers in school zones are doing unsafe things like texting while driving, according to new research.
It’s alarming enough that so many people are texting while driving. But now, a new study shows that we’re also doing it quite often in school zones.
The research, conducted by Silicon Valley analytics firm Zendrive and available by searchable database on the company's website, shows that school zones are not necessarily protecting us against the dangers of distracted driving. In fact, in some areas of the country, more people are texting while driving in school zones than in other parts of town. A whopping 88 percent of Americans use their phones while driving, the research shows, while one in three drivers display unsafe pickup or dropoff behavior in school zones.
Sort of makes you look up and pay attention, doesn't it? That's kind of the point. Zendrive is a startup co-founded by Jonathan Matus, an Israeli-born wunderkind of sorts in mobile platforms. Before striking out on his own with Zendrive, Matus – a graduate of Harvard, Wharton and the London School of Economics – worked for both Facebook and Google.
With his new venture, Matus says he's committed to making driving safer. What better place to start than with our own children?
"Since distracted driving is a major contributor to traffic deaths, it’s no wonder that last year’s spike in traffic deaths was the biggest in the last 50 years," Matus wrote in a blog post. "The roads around your kid’s school aren’t as safe as you think."
Not surprisingly, the regions that scored the worst on unsafe school zone drivers were New York, Kings and Queens counties in New York state, San Francisco County in California, and Miami-Dade County in Florida. But the problem is certainly not limited to its worst offenders. Just look for yourself, on Zendrive's database. You can type in virtually any school – it analyzed more than 75,000 U.S. schools and the 3.4 billion miles surrounding them – and see how it scored on safety compared to the rest of the county and country.
A glaring example: The state of Colorado got a C in drivers paying attention in and around school zones. But Denver, its largest city, got an F.
Matus said parents should record the grades their child's school received from this database and take it to the administration, and maybe even the police.
"It's their duty to keep our kids safe," Matus told CBS News. "And now we can give them a scorecard and keep them accountable and help them focus the resources to areas that really need that attention."
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