Morning commute can turn tragic for kids walking to school

Now that summer is over, drivers are less likely to see children out and about during the middle of the day, walking or biking to friends' homes, the park or the community pool. This does not mean that the risk of a child getting hit by a car is gone, however. In fact, pedestrian accidents involving children may be more likely than ever now that school is back in session for most kids in Georgia.

Walking is great for numerous reasons, not the least of which involves getting more exercise and saving resources. However, many roadways remain unsafe for pedestrians across the U.S., says Smart Growth America. Among these are undeveloped rural roads with high speeds and major metropolitan areas such as Atlanta. Pedestrian fatalities, particularly in these areas, made up almost 15 percent of all U.S. traffic deaths in 2012. The risk to pedestrians in Georgia is high; the latest numbers by the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety report 130 pedestrians killed in the state in 2011.

Crosswalks don't guarantee safety

Sadly, many of these deaths would have been children, if numbers provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are any indication-over 20 percent of all child traffic fatalities are pedestrian accidents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that children are among those most likely to get hit by a car, especially in areas characterized by urban sprawl. About 9 percent of children who don't walk or bike to school cite traffic danger as the main reason they ride a car or bus.

This point was tragically illustrated with an accident last winter, when a 10-year-old boy was hit on a road near his DeKalb County school. CBS 46 reported that the boy was in the crosswalk attempting to cross the street, but was crossing on the wrong light when he was hit. He was hospitalized in critical condition.

Children's lack of experience around traffic can contribute to some accidents, but most of the responsibility falls to drivers to keep those around them safe. Some of the most common places for children to be hit by cars include:

  • Roads in or near parking lots, schools, parks and neighborhoods.
  • Driveways and along streets where cars are parked.
  • Intersections, including those with marked crosswalks.

It can be hard for drivers to see people walking near any of these areas; it is not just children, but pedestrians of all ages who are in danger of being struck by cars in these high-traffic areas.

Contacting an attorney

Pedestrian accidents usually result in serious injuries for the person who was hit. If you or a loved one was hit by a car, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss the possibility of compensation.