Now that summer is here, millions of kids in Missouri and across the U.S. are celebrating the end of the school year and looking forward to spending some well-deserved downtime in the sun. We might think that their risk of getting hit by a car has been diminished now that they’re home for a few months, but this isn’t necessary the case. The National Safety Council has launched a campaign during the month of June to raise awareness of the dangers of pedestrian traffic, distracted driving and other important issues. During National Safety Month, the third week of June will focus on being aware of your surroundings, while week four is dedicated to ending distracted driving. A bonus week is focused on summer safety, which can include pedestrian safety as well as keeping safe around water.
Children are among those most at risk of being seriously injured or killed in a pedestrian accident, say the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 69,000 pedestrians were injured by cars in 2011; a large portion of these victims were children. Pedestrian accidents have become nearly epidemic in many areas of the country, with a 4 percent increase in fatalities in recent years.
Summer risks can be as dangerous as during school months
While school is in, many parents worry that their children will be hurt in accidents while walking to and from school or the bus stop. This is a valid concern; last January in Lee’s Summit, a girl was injured when she ran out into the street to catch her bus, not noticing an approaching vehicle, reported Fox4KC.com. Fortunately, she only received minor injuries. Many other children aren’t so lucky.
Kids who are out for the summer may avoid accidents to and from school, but the traffic risk isn’t eliminated. Many children are active during the summer months, whether walking or riding bikes to friend’s homes, the community swimming pool, the park or to various activities. In fact, with kids wanting something to do during the day when they aren’t in school, they may be more at risk of getting hit by a car than at any other time.
Recent pedestrian accident statistics in our state
Drivers need to be aware that they can share the roads with children and other pedestrians at any time. The following are some sobering information on pedestrian accidents provided by the Missouri State Highway Patrol:
- In 2011, over 10 percent of all fatal crashes in our state involved a pedestrian.
- Out of victims ages 14 and younger, common accidents involved children playing in the street or crossing the street from behind a parked vehicle.
- 75 people were killed and 1,377 were injured in pedestrian accidents in Missouri in 2011.
- Most crashes involving pedestrians happened in urban areas.
Parents can teach their children safe habits when walking near traffic. They should walk facing traffic, avoid being distracted by cellphones or other devices and wear bright clothing to increase their visibility. If walking at night, pedestrians can carry a flashlight or use the light on their phone to alert drivers of their presence.
Contacting an attorney
Pedestrian accidents are particularly dangerous and can result in serious injuries or worse. If your family has been affected by a negligent driver in a pedestrian accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney for advice.