How dangerous are the drivers around your kid’s school? Find out here.

Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for all school-aged kids in the United States. Distracted driving is on the rise.

This is unacceptable.

To prevent these casualties, we need to prevent the driver behaviors that contribute to them, and that means we need to measure them. This is Zendrive’s specialty.

Find Your Kid’s School:

Here’s what we learned:

  • The worst hours to be a kid are pickup and dropoff times: 7-8 AM and 3-4 PM.

Fifty-seven million kids walk, bike, take the bus or get a ride to school everyday in the U.S. It’s a necessary journey, and sometimes it can be dangerous. At Zendrive, we believe traffic injuries and deaths are preventable. Our goal is to build safe streets and healthy communities, ones where every kid can get to school without worrying about the drivers around them.

Add your voice to the movement to make roads safe for everyone! Read our detailed analysis of driver behavior around schools here.


  • Zendrive’s mission is to make the roads safe through data and analytics. We use smartphone sensors to measure driver behavior in real time, which our machine-learning algorithms then turn into actionable safety insights for an individual, fleet, or road.
  • With over 150 Billion miles of driver behavior measured analyzed, Zendrive’s driver safety scores are 6x more predictive of future crashes than the industry standard. Our technology is used by fleets who want to measure and improve driving safety, consumer apps to offer collision detection and emergency response, and insurance apps to measure driver risk. Cities use Zendrive’s anonymized data to make city planning safer. Together, we can eliminate road collisions.

We mapped out areas around over 125,000 schools nationwide and analyzed over 10.5-billion miles driven within them, giving us a safety snapshot of April 2018, which we compared to data analyzed from April 2017. Since schools, their playgrounds, fields and community spaces are seven-day-a-week destinations, we looked traffic throughout the week; this spanned nine million drivers’ anonymized aggregated data.

125,703 schools (and all surrounding roads within one-quarter of a mile)

3,094 counties (measured as averages of their school area scores)

10.5-billion miles driven and analyzed within school areas

9.1-million anonymous individual drivers in this study

1-billion trips

4.6-billion unsafe driving events

  • Phone use while driving (any handheld phone use while the vehicle’s moving, like texting or emailing)
  • Speeding
  • Rapid acceleration
  • Hard braking

Timespan analyzed:

  • April 2018
  • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
  • 24-hours
  • “Morning peak” dropoff times are 7-8 am
  • “Afternoon peak” pickup times are 3-6 pm

The grades measure the relative safety of the roads around a school. The more unsafe driving events per trip (like hard braking, phone fiddling, etc), the lower a grade the school will get.

The grades work on a curve. So when you put all 125,703 schools together, the top percentile, or the absolute safest school areas, gets an A+.

The next percentile is an A, and so on.

At the state- and county-levels, the grades were also given out on a curve. However, to account for outliers, only the 90th-percentile of driver behavior around schools within each area was used.

School areas with insufficient driving data were not included in the final analysis. As we get more data, we’ll release new Safety Snapshots with more info. The schools dataset is taken from the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES) datasets on public and private schools, found here. The NCES gathers their public school data from Common Core Data and private school data from the Private School Survey. If your school is not in the NCES database, then it won’t be in our analysis.

School Areas

  • The schools dataset is taken from the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES) datasets on public and private schools, found here. The NCES gathers their public school data from Common Core Data and private school data from the Private School Survey.
  • Some religious schools, correctional facilities and other institutions that may only be open on the weekends; public learning centers, etc. were included in the study.
  • School area boundaries were defined as all road segments around a school’s location within a standard fixed geohash. Geohashes are equally sized grids on the earth’s surface. We used geohashes with the precision level of 6, which is equal to rectangular grids with size 1.2 km by 0.6 km, or about one-quarter of a mile.

Safety scoring

  • School safety scores and rankings are based on unsafe driving events detected by the Zendrive platform within school areas.
  • We looked at the number of trips that crossed through each school area and the number of events that occured within each school area, then we rated safety based on the number of events with the school area per trip that crossed through the school area.
  • Transportation infrastructure and traffic characteristics around schools – such as highway type, number of lanes, average number of vehicles travelling – were not used to determine Zendrive scores.
  • Unsafe driving behavior data was normalized by sample size weights to account for potential sample and selection biases.
  • Schools within the same boundary definition got the same ranking.

Here are the 2018 Gold Star Schools, which had zero risky driving events during the study.

School Name County State Type Location
Tonto Basin Elementary Gila Arizona public rural
Skull Valley Elementary School Yavapai Arizona public rural
Hume Lake Christian Academy Fresno California private rural
Laguna Elementary Marin California public rural
Rio Lindo Adventist Academy Sonoma California private rural
South Central Calhoun Elementary Building Calhoun Iowa public rural
Harrison Elementary Cumberland Maine public rural
Deer Isle-Stonington Elementary School Hancock Maine public rural
Mill Creek Elementary School Grand Traverse Michigan public rural
Webber School Oakland Michigan public suburb
Kimball Elementary School St. Clair Michigan public rural
Denton 7-8 Fergus Montana public rural
Denton High School Fergus Montana public rural
Denton School Fergus Montana public rural
Bozeman Christian Gallatin Montana private rural
The Hunter School Grafton New Hampshire private rural
Dugan-Tarango Middle School Hidalgo New Mexico public rural
Tobe Turpen Elementary McKinley New Mexico public town
Scenic View School Clearfield Pennsylvania private rural
Conneaut Valley Elementary School Crawford Pennsylvania public rural
Laurel Run School Juniata Pennsylvania private rural
Sugar Grove School Somerset Pennsylvania private rural
Utica Elementary School Venango Pennsylvania public rural
Mercedes Academic Academy Hidalgo Texas public suburb
Anthony Center Greenbrier West Virginia public rural
Long Drain School Wetzel West Virginia public rural
Elk Mountain Elementary Carbon Wyoming public rural
Lance Creek Elementary Niobrara Wyoming public rural

Bottom 10 schools

Rank School Name County State Type Location
1 – most dangerous Oaks Montessori School Tangipahoa Louisiana private suburb
2 Bolton-Edwards Elementary and Middle School Hinds Mississippi public rural
3 Amikids Georgetown Middle and High School Georgetown South Carolina private rural
4 Luther High School Oklahoma Oklahoma public rural
5 Buckeye Local High School and Ohio Valley Energy Technology Academy Jefferson Ohio public rural
6 Fessenden Elementary School Marion Florida public rural
7 H. W. Byers Elementary, Middle and High School Marshall Mississippi public rural
8 Luther Branson School Madison Mississippi public rural
9 St. Paul Elementary School Clarendon South Carolina public rural
10 Pleasant Grove Sutter California public rural

Top 10 counties

Rank County State Location
1 – safest Lake of the Woods Minnesota rural
2 Alpine California rural
3 Costilla Colorado rural
4 Highland Virginia rural
5 Logan Nebraska rural
6 Blaine Nebraska rural
7 Columbia Washington rural
8 Grant Nebraska rural
9 Nelson Virginia town
10 Hardin Illinois rural

Bottom 10 counties

Rank County State Location
1 – most dangerous Marshall Mississippi town
2 Allendale South Carolina rural
3 St. Clair Missouri rural
4 Tom Green Texas suburban
5 Callahan Texas rural
6 San Francisco California urban
7 Simpson Mississippi town
8 Laclede Missouri town
9 Millard Utah rural
10 Ascension Louisiana suburban

State Ranking

State Rank
Wyoming 1 – safest drivers
Hawaii 2
Vermont 3
Montano 4
Maine 5
New Hampshire 6
South Dakota 7
West Virgina 8
North Dakota 9
Oregon 10
Idaho 11
Iowa 12
Washington 13
Virginia 14
Massachusetts 15
Minnesota 16
Rhode Island 17
Maryland 18
Kansaa 19
Nebraska 20
Wisconsin 21
North Carolinai 22
Ohio 23
South Carolina 24
Kentucky 25
New Mexico 26
Connecticut 27
Utah 28
Tennessee 29
New Jersey 30
Missouri 31
New York 32
Colorado 33
Delaware 34
Georgia 35
Arkansas 36
Nevada 37
Alabama 38
Texas 39
Pennsylvania 40
Indiana 41
Oklahoma 42
Michigan 43
Arizona 44
Mississippi 45
Louisiana 46
District of Columbia 47
Illinois 48
Florida 49
California 50 – most dangerous drivers

Rural Schools = Safer Roads. Counties with more urban areas and higher population are generally more dangerous. Which makes sense: a greater density of people walking and driving means a higher potential for crashes to occur.

Drivers should exercise extreme caution from 3 – 6 pm. Nationwide, the most dangerous time of day near schools is 3:00 – 4:00 pm… so take extra attention and care when in areas where kids walk, bike, or get off buses.

Be wary of afternoon pickup times. Drivers around schools during the afternoon peak pick-up time of 3:00 – 6:00 pm are more dangerous than the morning peak of 7:00 – 10:00 am.

Zendrive has anonymized, aggregated driver data from drivers from our customers and partners all over the country, such as HopSkipDrive and more. Some are commercial drivers, some are individual drivers, and all have the power of the Zendrive platform to keep them safe.

We took a snapshot of data from April 2018. If your school’s had safety improvements since then, they won’t be reflected in the data.

We used the school dataset from the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES). The NCES gathers their public school data from Common Core Data and private school data from the Private School Survey. If your school is not on the map, please contact NCES here.

We’re going to be releasing periodic Safety Snapshots as we analyze more miles in more areas. Stay tuned!