Children may be at increased risk of being hit by cars over the summer

Some people in Massachusetts may believe that now that summer is out, there are fewer chances for children to be hit by cars. Now that they're not walking, catching a bus or riding their bikes or skateboards to school, kids aren't likely to be found on sidewalks or crossing the street. Unfortunately, this assumption isn't exactly true. Children may not be walking to and from school, but there are a variety of other reasons for them to be out and about. In fact, drivers may encounter kids along city streets more often than usual, due to the lack of school hours.

There are an abundance of summer activities that can keep children busy. While visiting friends, going to the pool, playing at the park or participating in sports, many kids still walk or bike to these places. According to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, pedestrian accidents are lower in the state than in many other states, but these types of accidents are still an issue. A majority of the accidents involving pedestrians throughout Massachusetts include children.

Improved road safety measures not always enough to prevent a tragedy

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has cited a 4 percent increase in pedestrian deaths in recent years, and a shocking 69,000 injuries in 2011 alone. In fact, pedestrian fatalities made up almost 15 percent of all traffic-related deaths in 2012, says Smart Growth America. Officials in communities across the country have made efforts to improve the safety of roadways for those walking along them, but some regions remain unsafe-these include roads still not well-developed for pedestrians, and streets and highways with high speed limits.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that children and senior citizens are the most at risk for pedestrian accidents. Reasons for this include the following:

  • Young children or elderly people are unfamiliar with the layout of crosswalks and other safety features.
  • Smaller people are more difficult for drivers to see.
  • Numerous pedestrians are walking in and out of parked cars in parking lots.
  • Children are playing in the roadway or darting out unexpectedly into traffic.

The last point was apparently a factor in a recent accident in Milford, when a 4-year-old boy rushed out in front of a minivan after his mother, who had just crossed the street. WCVB News reported that the minivan driver wasn't able to avoid hitting the boy. He was hospitalized with serious head injuries, and the driver was cited for driving an unregistered vehicle.

Getting help from an attorney

Teaching children how to safely navigate their way near traffic can help to keep them from getting hit by cars. However, not all accidents can be prevented. Many people drive while distracted or have a habit of driving recklessly. If your child was hurt in an accident caused by someone else's negligence, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your options.