Keeping your children safe as pedestrians is always a concern, especially in major cities like Los Angeles. Between 2012 and 2016, more than 14,230 pedestrians were injured in vehicular crashes in LA, resulting in 439 lives lost.
As a result, Mayor Eric Garcetti signed into action Vision Zero LA, a program implemented in 2016 and dedicated to making city roadways safer in order to reduce and eventually eliminate traffic deaths by 2025.
Still, child pedestrian accidents in Los Angeles remain a major problem. In fact, data from a 2018 Vision Zero LA report found that traffic collisions were the leading cause of death for children aged 5 to 14 years old. Even if a child survives getting hit by a car, they are often left with long-term physical or cognitive impairments.
Know Where the Danger Lies
Every day, children walk to school, play outside with friends, or walk their dogs. Due to their small frames, children are often more difficult for distracted drivers to spot.
You can’t keep your children inside at all times, however, understanding when and where many child pedestrian accidents occur and what factors are often present can help both drivers and parents take steps to keep young kids safe:
- Nighttime and Weekend Accidents. Any pedestrian is more difficult to spot at night, but it’s even more difficult for distracted drivers to spot young children during this time. These accidents can increase during the winter months because there are fewer daylight hours. Additionally, there are often more impaired drivers on the road at night, which is a common contributing factor in pedestrian accidents.
- School Zones and Parks. School zones, as well as playgrounds and parks, are often prime locations for child pedestrian accidents, particularly just before school (7 a.m.) and right after it ends (3 p.m.). Oftentimes, these occur when drivers fail to obey the lower speed limits in designated school zones or fail to completely stop at crosswalks.
- Intersection and Crosswalk Accidents. Many instances of pedestrian accidents occur while a child is attempting to use a crosswalk. For instance, a vehicle driver who is making a left-hand turn through an intersection may fail to see a child in the crosswalk area and collide with the pedestrian.
- Backing-Out Accidents. Each year, thousands of children are injured by vehicles backing out of parking spaces or driveways. Because of their small statures, drivers can easily miss them when they fail to check their mirrors properly and turn their heads to check for a clear path before backing out.
Special Duty Owed to Children By Motorists
It’s important to note that there is a special duty owed by adults to all children. According to California Civil Jury Instruction 412 – Duty of Care Owed Children, California law states that all adults must “anticipate the ordinary behavior of children” and “be more careful in dealing with children than with adults.” In other words, adult motorists have a legal obligation to take extra precautions when driving around or otherwise dealing with children.
As a parent, you can’t control the negligent or outright reckless actions of other drivers. You can, however, do everything in your power to keep your children from being injured in pedestrian accidents:
- Have them wear bright colors
- Teach them how to properly use crosswalks
- When possible, avoid letting your children walk at night
- Remind them not to cross the street while texting
- If there are no sidewalks, avoid the road entirely
- Be an example for your children
If your child is hit by a car in Los Angeles, the pedestrian accident attorneys at Effres & Effres are prepared to protect your family’s rights throughout this traumatic ordeal. Contact our firm at (818) 222-9720 to put more than three decades of dedicated legal experience in your corner today.