Child pedestrian accidents rise with return of school

SONY DSCNow that school is back in session in Nevada, drivers can expect to see a steady stream of students walking to and from school each day. Although children should be able to walk to school safely, many Las Vegas students run the risk of getting seriously injured or killed in auto pedestrian accidents.

Since 2009, the number of people killed in pedestrian accidents in the U.S. has steadily increased, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2012, approximately 4,743 people lost their lives due to driver negligence. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention name children as some of the most vulnerable pedestrians, due to their small stature and inexperience with different traffic situations. The CDC also reports that nearly 25 percent of traffic deaths involving children under the age of 14 are pedestrian deaths. The risk of getting injured or killed in a collision increases significantly when children are walking during rush hour traffic.

Getting on and off the bus

One of the most common ways that school children are injured when going to school is by getting on and off of the bus, according to the NHTSA. Although buses are designed to display flashing warning signals and extendible stop signs, telling vehicles to stop as children get on and off of the bus and cross the street, a surprising number of vehicles fail to slow and stop at these signals.

Such an incident occurred in North Carolina, when a 16-year-old driver failed to yield to a bus’s stop sign as children were boarding the bus, as reported by WNCN News. Despite the bus driver’s desperate honks warning the driver to stop, she continued past the stop sign and hit an 11-year-old boy, who went flying into a ditch. Fortunately, the young boy survived the incident and is recovering from his injuries in the intensive care unit. The teen driving the car was charged with failure to reduce speed and passing a stopped school bus.

Obeying school zone regulations

According to the NHTSA, Nevada state statutes require motorists to stay below 15 miles per hour when traveling through a school zone, and below 25 miles per hour in a school crossing zone. These school zones and crosswalks are designed to keep child safe while crossing the street. Yet some motorists do not stop for children crossing the street at a designated crossing area.

As children prepare for school each day, they should be reminded of how to stay safe while getting on and off of the school bus, and walking to school. Motorists should take caution when driving around school zones and in neighborhoods where children are using the bus. It just may save a life.