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Transportation

The Bad Drivers Around Your Kid's School

A study on distracted driving finds that urban kids face higher risks when walking or biking around their schools at the end of the day.
Drivers tend to be most distracted during late-afternoon pickup times.
Drivers tend to be most distracted during late-afternoon pickup times. Jeff Roberson/AP

Earlier this year, the driver analytics company Zendrive found that an appalling 88 percent of people use their mobile phones while driving, and a cursory look around the roads will probably confirm that figure. Researchers point to distracted driving as a main culprit of a disturbing trend: After falling for decades, the number of fatalities from motor vehicles has climbed for the last two years.  

Recent statistics for pedestrian deaths for teenagers show a similar regression: The number of fatalities for those under 19 has decreased over the past two decades, but since 2013 has risen by 13 percent for 12 to 19-year-olds. Media accounts are often quick to blame kids wearing headphones or video-chatting when drivers are actually at fault. When a 14-year-old Philadelphia girl on her way to cheerleader practice was struck by a distracted driver, one local TV report opened its story with the fact that she was Facetiming with a friend while in a marked crosswalk. The driver was later charged with aggravated assault.