A Deltona, Florida student became the 10th student to be injured this year after he was struck by a car while riding his bicycle Thursday morning.
The driver was cited in the crash.
While the 11th grader only suffered minor injuries, Volusia County school officials said that children being injured by cars – two fatally – has been an ongoing problem in the area for the last two academic years.
School and community leaders in the area began researching the problem after 27 students were involved in collisions in the 2011-2012 school year. School officials decided to combat the issue with heightened awareness and law enforcement around the county’s schools.
Drivers were found to be at fault in about half of the incidents, but students’ not looking before crossing the street seems to be a contributing factor as well, according to a schools spokeswoman.
Another high school student was hit by a driver Tuesday while getting off the bus.
The motorist heading in the opposite direction apparently failed to stop when the school bus signaled it was stopping by flashing its lights. The student suffered a broken leg.
None of the injuries this year have been fatal, just minor injuries from bumps and bruises to broken bones. The collisions took place while students were biking or walking within a mile of their school.
Out of the 27 injured last year, 10 accidents occurred in Orange City, where a high school student was killed as he was walking to school in February. He was one of two students killed.
A safety zone was implemented to control the high number of accidents. The majority of victims were middle school students, but children as young as third graders have suffered injuries.
As children head back to school, it is important for all drivers to be extra cautious of the increased number of children walking or biking on sidewalks and streets. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 59,000 pedestrians were injured in 2009. Of those injured, 13,000 were age 14 and younger. When traveling through residential areas and school zones, it is essential for all drivers to be on the lookout for children walking, biking or playing in the street as it is not uncommon for kids to unexpectedly dart out into traffic.
As a parent, it is important to teach your children the rules of being a safe pedestrian. Regardless of whether you are walking to school with them or if they are making the trek solo, there are certain safety rules children should be aware of.
• How to Cross Safely at an Intersection. Teach your child to never cross the road unless there is an intersection or crosswalk. Not only is this a safety measure, but it is the law, so make sure they follow it accordingly.
• Always Cross the Street with an Adult. Children younger than 10 should never cross the street alone. If you are unable to accompany them on their jaunt to and from school make sure another adult is. Holding a child’s hand when crossing the street can prevent them from running off and into oncoming traffic.
• Safety in Numbers. If your child is older and capable of walking without you, it is best for them to do so with a group. This is for safety reasons, as it is easier for motorists to spot a group of children as opposed to one.
• Use Sidewalks When Possible. All pedestrians should use the sidewalk if one is available. If not, remind children to stay on the shoulder of the road, facing traffic and as far away from moving vehicles as possible. If your child is riding a bicycle, explain to them that different rules apply. Bikers must always ride with traffic.
• Always Look Left-Right-Left. Before crossing the street, children as well as adult should always look left, then right, then left again. Explain to children that they should follow this rule at all times in case negligent drivers fail to follow traffic laws.
• Traffic Signals. Teach your children what the traffic signals are and what they mean. Show them how the buttons work and when it is safe to cross. Constantly remind children that just because the signal may say it is safe to walk, they should always look left-right-left before venturing out into the crosswalk. Do this with your child every time you walk with them to enforce good habits.
Unfortunately, inattentive, distracted or careless drivers can seriously injure a child crossing the street. The Florida Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton cannot stress enough the importance of taking the time to look in every direction, whether there is a stop sign or not, to make sure there are no children entering crosswalks. By pausing for a few just a few extra seconds, we can keep children walking to and from school throughout the state of Florida safe.
If your son, daughter or grandchild was injured in a pedestrian accident, the Florida Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can thoroughly investigate the events surrounding the collision to determine who the at-fault party is. We can make sure your child’s rights remain protected and that you receive a fair settlement from an insurance company. Contact us today online or call us anytime statewide and toll-free by dialing 1-866-608-5LAW (5529).