Pedestrian accidents are extremely common across the United States, with 5,987 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in 2016. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, our state is no exception, with around 60 pedestrians being killed and 350 being seriously injured every year. The age range of victims varies; however, the highest rates of pedestrian injuries and fatalities occur among elderly people and children between the ages of five and nine. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one in every five children under the age of 15 who were killed in traffic crashes in 2016 were pedestrians.
Why Are Children in Such a High Number of Pedestrian Accidents?
Pedestrian accidents that involve children are often fatal, due to a child’s small size in comparison to that of a motor vehicle. Children’s lack of experience is the most common reason for the dangerous situations they may find themselves involved in. It can be difficult for a child to understand how cars work and how unsafe they can be. Children assume that if they can see the driver, the driver can also see them. They fail to recognize that a driver must process a large amount of sensory input while behind the wheel, making it easy to miss a small child. In addition, a child’s perception of speed and distance is inaccurate. They may think that a car can stop instantaneously and do not realize that they should give vehicles time and space to slow down. Lack of knowledge of traffic rules can cause children to step in front of cars or attempt to cross the street at the wrong time and place.
Physical development is another reason why children are at risk of being injured in a pedestrian accident. Children have one third less peripheral vision than adults, making it more difficult for them to notice oncoming traffic quickly enough to avoid it. The same is true for children’s hearing. Because their senses are still developing, children may not be able to easily determine the direction of a noise, which can make it challenging to alert a child if you are driving in their direction. Most children also have a lack of understanding of what injuries feel like, as well as the extent to which they would be injured if struck by a car or truck....