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Report: Fatal Pedestrian Accidents Among Teens On the Rise

by John Gomez | Last Updated: November 21, 2016
Fatal Pedestrian Accidents

It’s hard to believe that a generation ago, almost no one walked around with cell phones.  The concept of the smartphone was not even imaginable to most.  These days, it’s almost more eye-catching to see a group of people walking together without at least some of them tapping away or talking on their cell phones.

This is particularly true of young people.  Cell phone and smartphone technology has added a lot to the quality of life of people all over the world.  These advances have also come with certain downsides.  One of those is that people tend to drive and walk while distracted because of these devices.

Safe Kids Worldwide recently released a report that revealed a troubling trend regarding young people and cell phones.  That report showed that the number of young people involved in fatal pedestrian accidents across the country is rising.

About Safe Kids Worldwide

Safe Kids Worldwide is an organization that works to prevent injuries in children.  Those interested in reviewing the group’s Web site can find it here.  The organization has been operating since 1988, and since that time it has reduced the rate of unintentional injury in children by 60 percent.  Unfortunately, there is still work to be done.  According to Safe Kids Worldwide, a child dies somewhere in the world every 30 seconds because of an unintentional injury.

About the Fatal Pedestrian Accidents Report

In furtherance of this mission, Safe Kids Worldwide has published a report entitled, “Alarming Dangers in School Zones.”  The report focuses specifically on fatal pedestrian accidents, as these are the types of crashes that are most likely to occur near schools.  The report delved into available statistics relating to these crashes and compiled the following information:

  • 45 percent of teens had cell phones in 2004.
  • 88 percent of teens had cell phones in 2015.
  • 5 teens are killed in pedestrian accidents in the United States every week.
  • The number of teens killed in pedestrian accidents rose by 13 percent between 2013 and 2015.
  • Teens between the ages of 15 and 19 accounted for 26 percent of all teens in the United States in 2015.
  • Approximately half of all teens killed in pedestrian accidents in 2015 were between 15 and 19 years old.

These statistics alone are troubling.  However, Safe Kids Worldwide also observed 39,000 students in middle school and high school in school zones in 2016.  This observation also uncovered some troubling data, including:

  • 25 percent of high school students were seen walking while distracted.
  • Nearly 17 percent of middle school students were seen walking while distracted.
  • 44 percent of distracted teen pedestrians were wearing headphones at the time.
  • 31 percent of distracted teens were distracted because of texting.
  • 80 percent of the students observed crossed streets in an unsafe manner.
  • Nearly one-third of motorists dropped teens off in an unsafe location.

Those interested in reading the entire report can find it here.

What It All Means

Clearly, a lot needs to be done in order to make the walking environment safer for young people in school zones in the United States.  The report touched on the following aspects of this situation that need to improve:

  • The focus of the pedestrians
  • The focus of nearby motorists
  • Adherence to proper drop-off norms
  • More marked crosswalks
  • An increase in the number of stop signs in these areas
  • Stricter enforcement of school zone speed limits
  • More enforcement of proper street crossing

If everyone who could be affected by this problem takes these steps, the number of teens killed in fatal pedestrian accidents would likely drop significantly.

Fatal Pedestrian Accidents – Potential Liability

Every fatal pedestrian accident involves a unique set of facts.  Generally speaking, at least one if not more mistakes are made with every crash that leads to these tragic results.  Clearly, a teen who is not paying attention to traffic while crossing a road outside of a crosswalk is at least partially at fault if an accident occurs.  However, there are other situations where the following parties could be found at fault for a pedestrian fatality:

  • The municipality if the crosswalk area is not properly maintained
  • The municipality if any traffic signals in the area are not properly maintained
  • Those responsible for crossing guards if a crossing guard makes a mistake that leads to a crash
  • Motorists who may not be paying attention to their surroundings

What seems indisputable is that 284 teens losing their lives in one year because of distracted walking is 284 too many.  Everyone needs to be aware of this serious situation so that we can all take steps to bring this number down.

Parents need to take some time to speak to their children about safe walking.  They need to continue to do so until they are convinced that their child is listening.  Motorists need to always pay attention to their surroundings when they are driving.  This is particularly true when there are a lot of pedestrians near vehicles.  Those charged with protecting the safety of children in school zones need to do what it takes to provide an adequate level of protection.  Everyone needs to help.

How Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help

When parents lose a teen to a fatal pedestrian accident, that family is certainly going to be left reeling in the wake of that tragedy.  Most people are in no position to make immediate tactical decisions that will help to preserve their legal rights.  Families facing this type of terrible loss are going to be overwhelmed with emotions that include shock, grief and sadness.  They need to be together and they need to be there for each other as they work through this extremely difficult time.

This is why people who are forced into this position because of the actions of someone else need to allow an experienced professional to handle the legal aspects of this situation.

If this includes you or someone you love, seek the help of San Diego wrongful death lawyers who have been fighting for the rights of suffering families for more than a decade.  Contact Gomez Trial Attorneys as soon as possible to schedule a free initial consultation.

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