May 1 marks a day to change the way we drive
We call them “accidents.” It’s in our everyday vernacular. As an attorney who only helps people seriously injured in car crashes, it’s always curious to me that people usually refer to these as “accidents.” This is almost never the case, of course.
Most car accidents are completely preventable. People aren’t paying attention, or they are being reckless and they run a red light, or slam into the back of the car in front of them because they are speeding.
It is even worse when children are involved. As a lawyer, it’s heartbreaking every time a child is involved. When a driver is speeding in a neighborhood street, or looking down texting on his phone, and hits a child, it is never truly an accident. No one wants to do this. But it isn’t an accident.
Consider these facts from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
- 500 children under 14 years-old were killed while walking in their neighborhoods.
- Each year over 4,000 people were killed while walking in neighborhoods or crossing streets.
- The death rate on residential streets is over twice that of highways.
- A pedestrian hit in a 30 mph speed zone is 3 times more likely to die than one hit in a 25 mph zone.
Tomorrow is Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 Day. This is an important day to help us stop so many preventable and tragic child deaths and injuries from “car accidents” – usually caused by speeding and distracted driving.
Our lawyers hope that this day will get people talking about the need to change the way we drive in neighborhoods. I’ve handled too many tragic cases of children hit by cars, and I hope it means that drivers will start slowing down, obeying stop signs and speed limits, and always scan for children. We also hope our readers and loved ones will make a commitment to be aware of unsafe driving behavior.
7 safety tips for parents to help keep their children safe
Below are some safety tips for parents, from Keep Kids Alive Drive 25:
1. Do not allow your children to play in the street. Set limits for your child. Make sure they have safe places to play. The street is not one of them.
2. Always know where your child is. If you have children under 7, you must always accompany them outside. Know who they’re with and where they are.
3. Make sure your children are buckled up or secured in the proper child safety seat. Set an example by always wearing your seat belt. Here’s a blog post about car seat safety.
4. Cross the street with your child until age 10. Did you know children’s hearing is not fully developed until age 10? That’s why they may not hear or notice oncoming traffic.
5. Teach your child to cross the street correctly. Tell them to always use the nearest crosswalk when available, and to stop, look both ways and make sure the road is clear.
6. Make your child wear the proper helmet and pads. When riding a bike, scooter, skateboard or skating. Helmets should exceed safety standards. Look for an ASTM, Snell, ANSI or CPSC certification sticker.
According to AAA, speeders are 3 times more likely to be in a crash. And they account for 33 percent of car accident deaths. Following the speed limit is an easy and significant way to help prevent crashes, injuries and deaths.
– Steven Gursten is an accident lawyer and head of Michigan Auto Law. He president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association. Steve frequently writes and speaks on safe driving and child safety, and is available for comment.
– Keep Kids Alive Drive 25(R) is a registered trademark of Keep Kids Alive Drive 25, 12418 C Street, Omaha, Nebraska, 68145 used with permission. No other entities may use these or similar marks without prior permission. Call 402-334-1391 or e-mail [email protected] for information.
Michigan Auto Law exclusively handles car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state of Michigan. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Sterling Heights, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Detroit. Call (248) 353-7575 or to speak with one of our Michigan accident lawyers.