As the school year begins and children are more commonly seen on roads and in school zones, it’s crucial to increase school zone safety awareness. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, fatal pedestrian accidents involving a child happen most often after school.

Children are especially vulnerable to accidents with other cars when walking, as they may not understand traffic rules or traffic safety. While drivers must watch out for children, parents and caregivers must ensure their children stay safe when crossing streets and waiting near their bus stops.

What to Know About Pedestrian Accidents During the Back-to-School Season

From 2009 to 2018, pedestrian fatalities increased by 53%, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Furthermore, 1 in 5 children killed in crashes in 2020 were pedestrians. In South Carolina, pedestrian deaths among children are the third highest in the nation, with 0.95 per 100,000, only behind Delaware and Florida.

September—when schools are back in session—and October were among the deadliest months for pedestrian deaths among children in 2019, with October recording the highest death rate with 41 deaths. Children are active on the streets during this time due to sports activities and fall holidays like Halloween. Fall also means shorter days. It gets dark earlier, so drivers may fail to see children on the road, making pedestrian safety even more important.

How to Keep Children Safe When Going to School

Teaching children good habits early on is the best way to keep them safe from pedestrian accidents. Parents and caregivers should teach them to watch for oncoming cars and be aware of their surroundings.

●     Obey all traffic signals: Make sure your child knows what each street sign means and how to recognize them by their distinctive shapes and colors. You should also teach them to adhere to traffic signals at all times.

●     Stop and look before crossing: Ensure your child always looks both ways for cars before crossing the street. If there is an oncoming car, they must stop until the car passes by. Let them know it’s best to cross when no cars are coming.

●     Use the crosswalk: Drivers are responsible for yielding the right-of-way to pedestrians in crosswalks, but children may be less aware of this than adults. Instruct your child to cross in a crosswalk with traffic lights or a crossing guard. Teach your child to wait until the walk signal and look left and right to make sure it is clear of cars. 69% of children killed in pedestrian accidents were crossing outside of an intersection.

●     Make eye contact with the driver: You should encourage your child to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street to ensure the driver is aware of them. If a car does not stop for your child, ensure they don’t cross until the car leaves.

●     Put the phone away: Children should put away their cell phones and headphones when walking so they can hear vehicles approaching. This action allows them more time to watch out for traffic and react on time.

●     Wear reflective clothing: Encourage your child to wear reflective clothing at dawn and dusk when walking to school. You can have your child use a flashlight if necessary.

Drivers Should Be Cautious During the School Season

Drivers should also be extra cautious and aware of their surroundings at the beginning of the school year. At crosswalks, drivers should slow down and stop for children walking to or from school.

They should pay attention to young children crossing a street other than at a crosswalk. They must remain stopped until the child has completely crossed the road. In addition, drivers should never pass a stopped vehicle, such as a bus, waiting for children to board or get off.

When a negligent driver hits your child while they cross the street, the medical bills for your child’s injuries can quickly add up. Their injuries can also cause them a great deal of pain and suffering. Working with a pedestrian injury lawyer from the Joye Law Firm can help you pursue a child injury lawsuit against them to help you cover your expenses and achieve a better quality of life for your child.

Call Joye Law Firm if Your Child Was Injured in a Pedestrian Accident

Parents of children injured in pedestrian accidents must take every legal step to protect their children’s rights to compensation and justice. The South Carolina pedestrian accident lawyers at the Joye Law Firm can assist you during the legal process of filing a compensation claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company.

Reach out to Joye Law Firm today using our convenient online messaging system or fill out our contact form to start the claims process.

About the Author

Ken Harrell joined Joye Law Firm in 1994, and has been the managing partner since 2006. With 30 years of experience, he protects the rights of injured South Carolinians, including cases involving workers’ compensation, car accidents, and defective products. Ken also leads the firm’s referral practice, helping to ensure that our clients receive the best possible representation. He is a past president of South Carolina Injured Workers’ Advocates, and has served as the co-chairman of this organization’s legislative affairs committee for 12 years.

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