Drivers urged to take extra care to avoid child pedestrian accidents
With many children about to start their half term holidays drivers should be aware that more child pedestrians may be out and about in the coming week and therefore extra care may be needed to avoid child road accidents.
Despite the fact that statistics show that British roads are amongst the safest in Europe children are among the most vulnerable of road users and thousands of children are knocked down on UK roads every year. Collisions between cars and children usually result in severe injuries being sustained by the child. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) reports that over 60 child pedestrians are killed or seriously injured every week.
Drivers should be aware of danger to child pedestrians
Drivers should be aware that children do not have the same ‘road sense’ that an adult or driver has. Children are often unable to judge the speed and intentions of approaching drivers. Children are also easily distracted and often run into the road without checking for traffic. Many road accidents involving children occur when a child steps out into the road from between parked vehicles.
Many drivers involved in a collision with a child will argue that they were unable to take any action to avoid the accident. However, there are a number of precautions that drivers can take to reduce the possibility of a child pedestrian accident and the courts will criticise and hold liable any driver who has failed to take all appropriate steps to avoid a collision.
Precautions to avoid child road accidents
Reduce your speed – it is important that drivers keep within the speed limit and drive at a speed that is safe and appropriate for the road conditions. In many cases this means driving at a speed below the legal limit – for example where there are potential hazards such as parked vehicles, road works, or proximity to a school or pedestrian crossing.
Take care when driving near schools, playgrounds etc – when driving in any area where the presence of children could be expected extra care should be taken. Drivers should remember that children may be hard to see and therefore drivers should ensure that they are keeping a proper look out at all times for children in the area.
Be prepared for the unexpected! – Remember that children may suddenly step into the road without warning. Whenever children are in the area drivers should reduce their speed and be prepared to stop if a child steps into the road.
Take extra care at pedestrian crossings – You should stop at zebra crossings if a person is waiting to cross. Drivers must also stop for School Crossing Patrols. ROSPA also recommends that drivers should never wave a pedestrian across the road as there may be traffic overtaking from behind you.
Free legal advice following a child pedestrian accident
When a child is injured in a road accident the liability for the accident may not be straight forward. It is therefore important that expert legal advice is obtained. Beckett & Co Solicitors offer free advice to the injured victims of road accidents including drivers and pedestrians. If you or your child have been injured in a road accident call us for free, no obligation advice about making a personal injury compensation claim.