Every parent wants to believe that their children are safe when they are outside, playing with friends or walking to school. Unfortunately, that is not always the case as accidents between vehicles and children continue to occur every year in Phoenix.According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, there were 1,596 accidents involving pedestrians in the state in 2013 alone. In those accidents, 158 pedestrians lost their lives, meaning that nearly one out of every 10 pedestrian crashes resulted in death. Many of those injured were adults but 374 children were hurt as pedestrians involved in traffic accidents with 19 children aged 19-years-old and younger losing their lives.
It is every parent’s nightmare to have their child involved in an accident. Fortunately, there are steps that children can take to improve their safety while walking and to make sure that they are visible to oncoming traffic. If you have children, consider discussing the following safety tips with them:
- Whenever possible, walk on a sidewalk – Many streets in both urban and suburban areas of Phoenix have sidewalks designated for pedestrian traffic. When they are available, children should always walk on a sidewalk instead of in a street to keep themselves separate from vehicular traffic. If your child regularly walks a route without a sidewalk, discuss alternatives with your child, including whether another path may be a better option.
- Know the route – If your child walks to school every day, walks to a friend’s house on Saturday mornings, or visits a neighbor after school, odds are that your child takes the same route going there and back every time. As a parent, make sure you know that route and make yourself aware of any hazards along the way, including crossings, unmarked walkways, and construction. Make sure your child knows to stick with a route you approve of to increase the chances that your child will be safe on a daily basis.
- Obey all traffic signals – Traffic signals exist to keep everyone safe, whether they are drivers, passengers in a car, or children walking near a street. Ensure that your child understands the traffic signals in your area, including those designed for vehicles and for pedestrians. Make sure your child knows to wait until he or she has the right-of-way before crossing at an intersection and to always watch out for oncoming traffic.
- Never cross mid-block – It can be tempting to cross a street to get to a mid-block destination but crossing somewhere other than a crosswalk can be incredibly dangerous, and possibly illegal. Children should never cross mid-block but instead should proceed to the next crosswalk, often located at the next major intersection. Even if it takes a little longer to walk to a crosswalk, it is always the safe thing to do.
- Colors matter – If your child is young, you may not let him or her walk alone at nighttime or when the sun is setting. If your child is a little older, though, he may be outside in times when lighting is limited. Experts agree that bright, reflective colors on children make it easier to see them when compared to dark, matte colors. Make sure your child dresses appropriately even if you will be walking together. Headlights are likely to reflect upon shiny fabrics, increasing the possibility that a vehicle will notice your child on a sidewalk.
- Always watch for cars – Even if traffic is clear and your child has the right-of-way to cross, make sure he or she understands that it is a good idea to be constantly watching for traffic. A car can appear in a moment and pose a threat to a pedestrian, including a child, but if the child notices the car coming first, there is a chance that a collision may be avoided.
Children may see a parking lot or parking structure as a great place to play but parking lots pose a serious threat to pedestrian safety. Cars often come and go in these areas, leading to a high-traffic zone and drivers who are not necessarily expecting to see children. It is a good idea to avoid playing in areas designed exclusively for vehicular use and for pedestrian access to get to a vehicle; instead, encourage your children to play in a designated area like a playground or neighborhood park.
Children’s Injury Lawyers in PhoenixIn many cases, a child does everything right, put safety first, and followed the rules of the road but still is injured due to the negligence of a driver or other motorist. While nothing can erase the pain and suffering caused by these collisions, the laws in Arizona may authorize your child and your family with the right to seek a recovery for your damages, including any medical bills your child is forced to incur.
Personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. have experience representing minor victims of accidents, including pedestrian accidents, and we are ready to help you understand your family’s options if your child has been injured or killed.
We make ourselves available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to take your call and provide you with a free, no obligation telephone consultation toll free at (855) 749-5299 or locally at (602) 819-5191. We will discuss your child’s accident and resulting legal options including whether your family may be entitled to relief.
If your child has been injured in a pedestrian accident, call the lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. toll free at (855) 749-5299 or Contact Us online for a free consultation.