The school year is underway across Pennsylvania and this means parents have a new set of safety concerns. As much as we hope that nothing will ever happen to our children, the reality is that kids are at risk of being involved in auto, pedestrian, bicycle and other types of accidents during their school commute.

One of the biggest risks that children face are pedestrian collisions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there will be 460 visits to U.S. emergency rooms over the next 24 hours that are made by pedestrians who were involved in collisions with motor vehicles. Additionally, there will be one pedestrian killed from a motor vehicle accident an average of every two hours.

Pedestrians of all ages can be hit while walking, but certain groups are at greater risk than others. As pedestrians, children are at a high risk of injury or death from collision due to their small size, inability to judge speeds and distances, and overall lack of experience with traffic rules. For children under the age of 14, as many as 25 percent of all traffic fatalities happen when the child is a pedestrian and is involved in a collision with a vehicle.

Parents can take precautions to ensure that their children do not get hurt by talking to their kids about the following basic safety tips:

  • Teach kids to look both ways before crossing the street. It is best to get in the habit of crossing at a designated crosswalk or intersection.
  • Walk on a sidewalk or path whenever possible; If one is not available, pedestrians should walk on the shoulder of the road, facing traffic.
  • Remind children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street and to be on the lookout for cars that are backing up or turning.

Motorists on the road also have an obligation to be watchful of pedestrians and avoid causing dangerous conditions for kids walking to class or to the bus. Drivers need to be alert to the fact that there is more foot traffic on the roads during the school year. Drivers should:

  • Be extra cautious in neighborhoods and in school zones, especially as sun glare is often a factor at the time of day when kids walk to and from school.
  • Come to a complete stop a safe distance away from a stopped bus. It is illegal to pass a school bus. Motorists must stop completely when the bus has flashing lights and has its stop arm extended.

Drivers and pedestrians can both play a part in avoiding accidents by following the rules of the road and using extra caution during the school year.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, contact the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Metzger Wickersham today for a free and confidential consultation.