What do you need to know about child pedestrian accidents?

The start of the school season increases the risk of pedestrian accidents for children. Drivers need to be aware of the risks and drive cautiously.

As West Virginia residents prepare for the beginning of another school year, they should take into consideration the fact that many children will be walking to and from school and their buses. This concern does not apply only to parents whose children are walking. Everyone should be aware of the risks of pedestrian accidents, whether they are a parent, pedestrian or driver.

According to the National Safety Council, children are more often struck by cars near schools than anywhere else. Drivers should know that children are likely to take risks or not understand or obey the rules of traffic. They may dart out into the road without looking for cars, for instance, or engage in horseplay near traffic and put themselves in danger. Additionally, children are less likely to recognize a traffic hazard, such as the speed or distance of an approaching car.

Common child pedestrian dangers

It can be difficult for drivers to spot children walking or playing near traffic. This is why drivers need to be aware of their surroundings at all times. They should be especially cautious in areas where children are more likely to be, such as in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, in residential areas or near driveways and parking lots.

The following points are additional ways that drivers can reduce their chances of being in car crashes with pedestrians, and make the roads safer for children walking to and from school:

  • Obey reduced school zone speed limits.
  • Never attempt to drive around a school bus that is stopped for children and has its lights flashing and the stop sign extended.
  • Stop for traffic that is letting children cross the street, and always give children the right of way.
  • Do not stop in the middle of a crosswalk or intersection, which may force children to cross the street closer to moving vehicles.
  • Avoid scaring someone crossing the street by honking the horn or revving the engine; this might result in a frightened child running into traffic.

If a driver in Logan County had been observing these safety rules, a 12-year-old girl may have avoided injuries last March. According to WSAZ News, the girl's school bus was stopped with its lights flashing and stop sign activated. An oncoming driver, who admitted to authorities that she had seen the lights, continued driving and struck the girl. The driver was arrested and charged with overtaking and passing a school bus. Fortunately the 12-year-old girl escaped serious injuries.

If your family was impacted by a pedestrian accident, you may have the right to pursue compensation. Farmer, Cline & Campbell, PLLC has handled numerous pedestrian accidents and would welcome you to contact our firm for a free consultation if your child has been injured by a negligent motorist.