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Start of School Year Raises Child Pedestrian Concerns

Feb. 24, 2021

With school starting up for most children in the U.S., many will face dangers from vehicular traffic as they walk to or from school.

School is starting up for children all across the United States. Many children in New Jersey will be walking to and from school or their bus stops. As autumn takes hold and the weather starts getting wet or foggy, it may be more difficult for drivers to see children walking near traffic. These driving conditions, combined with the increased traffic of parents driving children to school, can make it quite dangerous for those who walk.

According to the National Safety Council, the majority of children in pedestrian accidents are struck while walking near a school. Most who are killed in incidents involving school buses – whether struck by the bus or by a vehicle illegally passing the bus – are between four and seven years old. It is well known that many young children fail to understand or recognize safety hazards. They may also take risks. However, the majority of the responsibility falls to motor vehicle drivers to keep from injuring child pedestrians.

Common Factors Regarding Children Walking Near Traffic

Most pedestrian accidents occur in city areas with heavy traffic, state the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many take place at non-intersection locations. For children walking to school, this may include times when they cross to reach a bus or take a shortcut. The following points illustrate some of the dangers children face while walking to or from school:

  • Cars that block crosswalks, speed through school zones or fail to stop for a crossing guard

  • Drivers who pass school buses that are stopped to let children on or off

  • Drivers who fail to drive cautiously near schools, parks, playgrounds or residential areas where children may walk before and after school

  • Weather conditions making it difficult for drivers to see children waiting at intersections or crossing the street

Poor weather may have been partly to blame for a tragic accident in which a 6-year-old boy was killed in Waterford Township, reported NJ.com. In January 2014, the boy crossed the street as his bus was stopped and was run over as he walked in front of the bus. The substitute bus driver had made a wrong turn and was parked on the opposite side of the street from the normal bus stop. The boy’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit last January against the school district, the bus company and the driver, saying the driver did not comply with procedures and was in a rush to make up for lost time by making the wrong turn.

Injuries May Be Severe and Life-Threatening

Child pedestrian accidents may result in catastrophic injuries, states the National Center for Biotechnology Information. These frequently include traumatic brain injuries, broken bones and internal bleeding. For children, the injuries may be particularly severe in the pelvic and upper leg areas, where the front of vehicles most often strike.

If your child was involved in a pedestrian accident, you may be eligible for the compensation of your hospital expenses and other losses. It is important to get in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.