Prevent Whatcom County Child Pedestrian Accidents as We Return to School
There is no doubt that 2020 has been a weird and difficult year. All public schools in Whatcom County chose to begin their school year with distance only learning for all grades due to the risk of spread of COVID-19. Since that decision was made in late-July, Whatcom County’s infection rate has dropped enough that school districts are beginning to bring students back in hybrid models – either half the class two days a week or every other week. This means that school zones will be back in effect along with the need to protect our children from pedestrian accidents.
Child pedestrian accident statistics
According to CDC.gov, one in every five children under the age of 15 killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians in 2017.
According to crash stats from NHTSA.dot.gov, of the 4,735 pedestrian traffic fatalities in 2013, 236 (five percent) were children.
According to research by the National Safety Council, most of the people who lose their lives in bus-related incidents are children 4 to 7 years old who are walking near a bus. These children are typically either hit by a bus or by a driver who is illegally passing a parked bus.
Prevent Whatcom County child pedestrian accidents as we return to school
Drivers in Bellingham and surrounding cities should prepare themselves for the return of heavier motor vehicle, bus, cycling and pedestrian traffic as schools reopen in their chosen hybrid models. Children – especially primary aged children – can be oblivious to traffic around them. According to the National Safe Routes to School program, more children are hit by cars near schools than at any other location. If you drive past schools during drop-off or pick-up times; slow down and be vigilant about looking around. Be prepared to brake quickly if necessary.
- Watch out for children darting out from in front of or behind vehicles parked on the side of the road.
- Watch out for children exiting school buses.
- Watch for bikes entering the road from driveways or behind parked cars or buses.
Safety tips for driving near young children
Use these driving tips when small children are present:
- Always yield to children and school patrol officers or crossing guards entering a crosswalk.
- Never pass a bus that is stopped to load or unload children; it is illegal in all 50 states.
- Be on the lookout for bicyclists turning in front of you without signaling; this is especially common with children.
- If you are about to turn right and you see a bicyclist approaching from behind on the right, let them go through the intersection.
- Always use your turn signals with enough warning.
- Never block a crosswalk when stopped at a light or waiting to make a turn.
- Drive slowly (follow the school zone speed limit).
- Don’t honk, rev your engine or act otherwise aggressively as you could scare a small child or cause a car or pedestrian accident.
- Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians.
Seek the help of a personal injury attorney
If you or a loved one was injured because of the negligence of another, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!