The start of a new school year results in an increase in the number of children walking Houston-area neighborhoods. Unfortunately, many of these kids will be walking during prime traffic times when they are at great risk of becoming involved in a collision. Pedestrian accidents are a serious danger for young people, and drivers and parents need to focus their attention on keeping school kids safe this academic year.
A personal injury lawyer knows that pedestrian fatalities are a leading cause of traffic-accident deaths among young people. In fact, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, almost 25 percent of all traffic deaths of kids under 14 happen when the child is walking. It is the job of drivers to look out for these young people when they go back to school, but parents and communities can also explore ways to make routes safer and reduce the risk of an accident.
Children at Risk of Back-to-School Pedestrian Accidents
In the United States, an average of one pedestrian dies due to a traffic collision every two hours. In just a single 24 hour period, around 460 people go to the emergency room with injuries that result from pedestrian collisions. More than 4,200 people died in a pedestrian traffic crash in 2010 alone, and teens and young adults are the age group that are most likely to be killed in a pedestrian accident.
The Safe Routes to School Guide explains how community members can come together to try to reduce the risks to children. Coalitions of parents, city or school district safety committees, Parent-Teacher Associations, wellness councils and pedestrian or bicycle safety advocates can form a Safe Routes to School Program that focuses on encouraging improvements in:
- Education: Drivers, parents and students can all be educated on the risks that children face when walking to school.
- Enforcement: Law enforcement officers can increase efforts to catch drivers who speed in school zones at the start of the school year and can patrol near school areas to identify motorists who may disobey rules when it comes to stopping for buses or giving pedestrians the right-of-way. Crossing guards may also be hired for the areas around school facilities to make it easier for children to get across roads on their way to school.
- Engineering: New sidewalks, fresh paint on crosswalks or even new signs could help to make a difference in making sure kids have a safer route.
By increasing focus on school safety and the risks of pedestrian accidents, drivers can become more aware of the risks and more alert as the school year starts. The National Safety Council (NSC) also reminds drivers that it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus and that they should come to a stop a safe distance from the vehicle. Motorists also should be aware of the fact that there are more children on the roads now that school is back in session, and they should exercise extra caution during busy traffic times or when the sun's glare impedes visibility.
Accident lawyers in Houston, TX can help after your injury. Call today at (800) 632-9404 or visit https://www.h-nlaw.com to schedule your free consultation with Hagood & Neumann.