Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Child Pedestrian Safety is the Driver's Responsibility

Death is never easy, and for parents who have lost their beloved children too soon, the death of their child is the personification of injustice.

The parents of a 5-year old boy who was struck and killed by a truck has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the truck driver, the employer of the truck driver, the school, the bus driver as well as the school employee who was watching over the children.

Zachary Cruz was in kindergarten at LeConte Elementary School. He was headed toward the UC Berkeley’s Clark Kerr Campus for an afterschool program when he got run over by the truck while crossing the street.

The police have ruled that Zachary’s death was an accident.

Pedestrian deaths account for 11 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities. While the rate of pedestrian deaths in motor vehicle crashes are the highest for people ages 70 and older, children still make up a huge percentage of pedestrians who are killed on the road.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Child pedestrians are at higher risk for injuries than adults as nearly one out of every five children ages 5 to 9 years who died in traffic were pedestrians.

The American Center for Disease Control and Prevention say that the smaller size of children make it difficult for motorists to see them and coupled with a child’s inability to judge distances and speeds as well as their lack of experience with traffic rules, make children vulnerable to getting hurt or killed as pedestrians.

Child pedestrian safety as a real concern. While some accidents are unavoidable, drivers should exert utmost diligence and care especially near crosswalks and school areas in order to reduce the chances of hurting a pedestrian.

Speed is also a huge factor in most pedestrian accidents, oftentimes, motorists go too fast to stop in time from striking a pedestrian who suddenly stepped off a curb or who is crossing the road. Drivers should reduce their speed to avoid not just motor vehicle collisions, traffic rule violations but also pedestrian deaths.

Children, given their tender age and lack of knowledge and experience are vulnerable in more ways than one. It is the responsibility of drivers and other adults to exercise greater care and caution and make sure that a child pedestrian is guided and protected at all times.