Back-to-School Risks That May Surprise You
August 26, 2016 / Vehicle Accidents
It’s that time of year! Summer’s last gasp is upon us when our children to return to school. While it can be a period filled with mixed emotions, from nostalgia to elation, one thing hasn’t changed: the chance of your child becoming a pedestrian injury statistic.
Pedestrian injuries are the fifth most common reason for injury-related death among children from 5 to 19. But here’s a hard truth that may surprise you: teenagers are the age group with the greatest risk. They have a death rate twice as high as that for younger kids. About half of child pedestrian deaths happen to teens, and those who sustain injuries are likely to have serious ones.
It didn’t used to be this way. Just a little over twenty years ago, it was the little ones aged 5 to 9 who were most likely to be struck by a vehicle. We celebrate the great news that the death rate for this age group has dropped by more than half since 1995.
Unfortunately, the death rate for teens has jumped sharply. While this fact might be a shock, the reason why might not be: cell phones and pedestrian distraction.
They Call It Being a “Pedtextrian”
If you have a teenager, you probably already know that their lives involve an enormous number of text messages. A study by the Nielsen Company concluded that kids aged 13 to 17 send more than 3,400 text messages every month. That’s 7 messages every hour they are awake, every day.
With numbers like these, some texting is bound to be happening while the teens are walking. But being a pedtextrian isn’t limited to our kids. Adults text while walking, too, sometimes with disastrous results. It’s been proven that adults who text cannot walk a straight line for more than a few feet. If we grownups can’t manage to walk and text, what do you think the results are going to be when a child who is focused on a message steps off the curb in front of an oncoming vehicle?
Want one last, disturbing number? Almost two-fifths of our teens have been hit or almost hit by a car, motorcycle, or bike. Many are convinced that cell phone distraction is the biggest reason for this statistic.
Going Back to School Safely
Inform your kids about the dangers of being a distracted pedestrian:
- Teach them to look left, right, and left again when crossing the street, and to keep looking while crossing.
- No electronic device usage while crossing the street! Teens especially need to hear this message.
- Warn them of the dangers of walking and texting.
- Tell them not to walk with headphones on, and to focus on their surroundings.
- Obey these guidelines yourself. Set a good example.
And, in a related matter, this reminder: if your child is old enough to get behind the wheel, make sure they understand that phones are never to be used while driving, for any reason. On July 1, 2015, an amendment to Indiana law went into effect that bans any driver under the age of 21 from using a cell phone.
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Have you or a loved one been injured in a car accident or as a pedestrian where the other driver was engaging in distracted driving? If you think you might have a case, keep in mind that in Indiana there is a statute of limitations – or a deadline – for filing personal injury claims, so it is unwise to delay. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you deserve compensation. Don’t lose the opportunity to obtain the money you need to put your life back on track and to make your family’s future financially secure. Call Mike Stephenson at 1-317-825-5200 or contact us for immediate help. Stephenson Rife. Trusted advisors. Proven advocates.