Reducing Pedestrian Accidents Involving Children in Atlanta Georgia


June 06, 2011

The pedestrian accident fatality rate among children ages 14 and under has fallen about 40% in recent years. The injury rate for this same group has also declined by about 29%. While this is good news, it does not mean that there still is not a reason for concern or that pedestrian accidents involving children are not still an all too frequent occurrence.

Most children do not really walk to school anymore. You have probably noticed that school buses stop after very short distances to pick up more school children. The number of children who walk to school has dropped by an amazing 42 percent. This lack of walking has resulted in a decline in pedestrian accidents involving school children and an increase in cases of childhood obesity. As Michelle Obama and others have targeted childhood obesity as an issue, it is reasonable to conclude that additional measures may be important to protect our children, including creating safe areas for them to walk. More and more effort is being put into educating children about pedestrian safety, decreasing speed limits in areas with children, creating more designated crosswalks, building pedestrian walkways, and providing crossing guards when needed.

The Problem

Even though the death rate among children under the age of 14 due to pedestrian accidents has declined, pedestrian injury remains the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children in this age group. Studies and statistical data show that about 19 percent of all accident-related fatalities of children under the age of 16 involve pedestrian-related traffic accidents. Almost half of the fatalities in this age group occurred between the hours of 3 and 7 PM the window of time when children are most likely to be exposed to traffic.

There is a combination of factors that contribute to the high risk of pedestrian accidents involving children. A national survey shows that two-thirds of drivers passing through a school zone exceed the posted speed limit 30 minutes prior to the start of school and 30 minutes after school is out. Children are also more susceptible to these types of accidents because they have difficulty judging the speed of oncoming cars, spatial relationships and distance. Kids do not fully develop these types of skills until they are about 10 years old. The ability to process information in situations in which cars and their dangers are present is literally beyond a child's sensory and cognitive abilities.

A study conducted in London actually revealed that children in this age group between the ages of 5 and 14 cannot accurately judge the speed of cars traveling faster than 20 mph. Children who do risky things, like running across the street when a car is coming, may do so not because they are inattentive but because they are unable to make clear, appreciate or judge the risk.

Tips for Teaching Kids Pedestrian Safety

Young children are impulsive and often act without understanding the consequences of their actions. This means they do things like dart out in front of oncoming cars and run out from behind parked cars. They also have an increased risk of being distracted by other things when they should be alert for traffic dangers. If parents focus on informing their children and model safe pedestrian behavior, parents can reduce the risk of their children being involved in a serious pedestrian accident. Parents also need to understand children’s limits and monitor them until they are old enough to fully perceive and appreciate the risk.

Here are some tips:

  • Always use safe pedestrian behavior yourself / act as a role model for your child
  • Teach young children about pedestrian rules and behavior
  • Teach them to play away from the road
  • Always supervise children under the age of 10 when they are crossing the street
  • Teach children to properly cross a safe distance in front of a school bus
  • Walk on sidewalks when available
  • Teach them how to cross the street at a crosswalk or corner
  • Teach your child to stop at the edge of parked cars, curbs or any other vehicles and look both ways
  • Teach children to look at car lights and listen for engines
  • Teach them to always be on alert

If your child has been injured in a pedestrian-related accident, it is important to talk with an experienced personal injury attorney in Atlanta about the details of the accident. If your child is involved in a pedestrian accident as a result of the negligence of a driver or other responsible party, contact our experienced Atlanta pedestrian accident attorneys for a free consultation to learn how we can help.

Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law has been committed to family safety and accident prevention for over 27 years. This is why Montlick & Associates created safety initiatives such as our Help Keep Kids Safe and our Family Safety and Legal Tips programs, and partnered with organizations such as DNA Lifeprint and the Safe America Foundation. Visit www.montlick.com to learn about all the ways you can help keep your family safe.

Our experienced Atlanta pedestrian accident lawyers are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.