School zones are designed to help prevent children from being hit by a car when they are walking to or from school or the bus stop. But did you ever think about where these child pedestrians are after the bell rings at the end of the school day? They are walking in the neighborhood, perhaps playing at the park or riding their bikes. Child pedestrian safety awareness needs to occur anywhere and anytime children are present.
The scope of the problem
Children are all-too-often struck by cars. One source reports that around 626 children are killed each year after being hit by a car. Children do not always appreciate the dangers traffic presents. A child under age 10 cannot be expected to accurately gauge how fast a car is going.
In addition, children can behave unpredictably. Young children especially are at risk of losing their lives in pedestrian accidents. These accidents can take place on streets, parking lots and sidewalks. Children at play sometimes dart out into the street. This is especially dangerous in the evening when darkness is starting to fall.
How motorists can help keep child pedestrians safe
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends several steps motorists can take to keep child pedestrians safe.
First, motorists should always be on the look out for pedestrians while driving, especially children. This is especially important when it is dark out, when it is raining or when it is foggy making it hard to see.
Motorists should take care to slow down and come to a complete stop when approaching a crosswalk. Motorists should yield to a pedestrian’s right of way at crosswalks.
Impaired driving should always be avoided. Speeding should also be avoided, especially when children are around. Note that school zones and neighborhoods may have slower speed limits due to the likelihood of children being present.
Motorists have a duty of care to avoid causing car accidents, including accidents involving child pedestrians. By exercising due care, motorists can help ensure that the children in the areas they drive remain safe.