Pedestrian Safety in Back to School Season
Written by Cooper & Friedman PLLC on September 12, 2021
We’re all familiar with the excitement and change that the beginning of a new school year brings. Early mornings, after-school sports and late nights of homework affect the daily routines and circadian rhythms of disgruntled parents and their kids, everywhere.
If you have a child going back to school this fall, it’s important to educate them and yourself about the benefits of pedestrian safety. While anyone can be involved in a pedestrian-car accident, children are a particularly vulnerable population. According to the CDC, 20% of all pedestrian fatalities in 2017 were children under the age of 15. Every day, over 40 kids are hit by a car while walking in the United States.
While organizations like the National Center for Safe Routes to School leads initiatives to reduce child-pedestrian accidents, rates still continue to climb nationwide–especially during the start of the school year.
Why is this? “Younger children may feel excited or anxious over their new routine and run into the street without thinking, and older children are often distracted by phones or their peers and don’t pay attention to their surroundings,” contends Purnima Unni, MPH, CHES, Pediatric Trauma Injury Prevention Program Manager at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
In addition, distracted or intoxicated drivers, increased motor traffic, poor infrastructure and low visibility can pose a risk. If you have kids or grandkids returning to school this year, keep reading to find out ways you can work to keep them safe.
How Your Children Can Stay Safe
1. Educate your kids on safety practices. If they’re old enough, make sure they know the rules of the road, like looking both ways before crossing the street, using crosswalks and sidewalks, observing stop lights and stop signs, watching for cars, etc. Prevention starts with you modeling and teaching safety to your kids.
2. Increase Visibility. Many accidents occur in the early morning, when kids are heading to school or the bus stop before the sun rises. Visibility is low for drivers, many of whom are sleepy, rushing to work, and not ever thinking about the presence of a small child. Consider investing in reflective, bright, neon, or light-up clothing and backpacks for your kids. Even buy them a flashlight, if need be. These items can increase their visibility for drivers in the dark.
3. Ditch Electronics. Any kid who has handheld devices such as iPhones, tablets, or iPods can be easily absorbed and forget to pay attention to where they are walking. Even earbuds or headphones can create a distraction. If your teen has a habit of texting-and-walking, it may be time to shut it down!
4. Create Structure. Kids are generally ready to walk by themselves from the ages of 9-11. If your kids walk to or from school or the bus, it’s a great idea to create a predetermined route that you know to be safe, direct, have sidewalks, or be less-trafficked. Having a rhythm allows them to build independence and confidence, as well as reduce the risk of accidents.
Involved in a Pedestrian Accident? Get Legal Help
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a pedestrian accident, the experienced team at Cooper and Friedman PLLC can help you receive the compensation you deserve. Our experienced lawyers have over 45 years of combined experience serving the Louisville, Kentucky area. Call 502-459-7555 to schedule your free case consultation with an attorney today.