Back to School Month should remind drivers of child pedestrian dangers

Back to School Month is in August, states the National Safety Council. Drivers should be aware that children are often hit by cars walking to school.

During the summer, many Kentucky residents might feel a welcome reprieve from school zones and having to frequently stop for school buses. However, it is always a good idea to remember that children can be walking or riding their bicycles near streets at any time of the year. Also, with a new school year around the corner, the National Safety Council has designated August as Back to School Month.

In 2014, reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 57 pedestrians were killed in Kentucky. This number was higher than the previous three years. Some of those killed would have been children, and these statistics do not take into account those who were seriously injured, but not killed, in pedestrian motor vehicle collisions.

Common pedestrian dangers for children

During the summer, children are often seen walking to and from playgrounds, friends' homes and swimming pools, but even accounting for summer activities, more children are hit by cars near schools than anywhere else. It is important for drivers to remember that children, especially younger ones, often do not understand the risks or recognize road hazards. They may have difficulty judging the speed or distance of an oncoming car, or dart into the road suddenly without considering the danger.

The majority of children killed in pedestrian accidents are between the ages of four and seven years old. Many are struck by vehicles unlawfully passing a stopped school bus while they are crossing the street, or by buses themselves. Drivers should remember the following guidelines as school begins, as well as throughout the year:

  • Always yield for people walking in a school zone.
  • Stop for a crossing guard or other authority figure assisting children in crossing the street.
  • Never pass another vehicle that is stopped to let children cross, or attempt to pass a school bus with its lights on and safety arm extended.
  • Do not stop partly or all the way in a crosswalk at a light or while attempting to make a turn.
  • Never honk the horn at nearby pedestrians, which may frighten them into running into oncoming traffic.

Also, drivers should be aware of the other places children are likely to be walking, in addition to school zones. These include playgrounds, parks and residential neighborhoods.

When drivers are aware of others around them and observe safety rules, it may prevent tragedies. Unfortunately, not every accident can be prevented. It may help to speak with a Louisville personal injury attorney if you or a loved one is injured in an accident. This may better inform you of whether or not you may be able to pursue compensation.