Automobile accidents occur in our communities so regularly that it is easy to become numb to their horrific consequences. Thus, while one would hope that routine exposure to motor vehicle crashes would lead us all to exercise more outstanding care, many drivers are not deterred from their reckless behavior. Perhaps they think that crashes happen only with other people and will not affect them.
But everyone needs to remember that many of the cars on the roadway carry our most precious cargo – children. Thus, drivers must do everything possible to protect them. In this blog post, we will examine how often children are involved in traffic accidents and what we can do to help keep them safer.
Statistics of Children Involved in Car Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 1,093 children aged 14 and younger died in traffic accidents in 2020. This represented 3 percent of the 38,824 total fatalities. During the same time, NHTSA estimates that 139,042 children were injured in traffic accidents.
To put these numbers in perspective, three children, on average, were killed every day in America in 2020 in traffic accidents. In addition, during the same period, an average of 380 children were injured daily in traffic crashes.
Children and Motor Vehicle Accidents – Trend
There is good news and bad news. Fortunately, since 1975 there has been a downward trend in the number of children killed in automobile accidents. But, unfortunately, child deaths from traffic accidents increased from 2019 to 2020. Only time will tell if this is a new trend or not.
On the bright side, injuries sustained by children in traffic accidents decreased an impressive 24 percent from 2019 to 2020. Hopefully, a positive trend like this one will continue. Of course, deaths and injuries to children from motor vehicle crashes are still a significant concern.
What Are Some Steps that Can Reduce Risk for Children Passengers?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) provide information on reducing child injury and fatalities in car accidents. Not surprisingly, using restraints, and using them correctly, are essential to the safety of child passengers in motor vehicles. Children need to be buckled up in the type of restraint, such as a booster seat or car seat, appropriate for their size and age. To understand the importance of proper restraint usage, consider the following facts:
- Children in states with booster seat laws for children 4 – 8 years of age were 20 percent more likely to survive a car accident than in states that did not have such regulations.
- 25% fewer 7-year-olds died from automobile crashes in states with booster seat laws for 7-year-olds as compared to states that did not have such laws.
- Children 3 years old and younger who are restrained in the back seat instead of the front seat have their fatal injury risk reduced by approximately 75 percent.
- Children aged 4 – 7 years who are restrained in the back seat instead of the front seat have their fatal injury risk reduced by almost 50 percent.
Finally, protecting our roads from dangerous drivers can play a prominent role in keeping children safe. For example, NHTSA reports that 21% of children killed in traffic accidents in 2020 involved alcohol impairment.
Call with Questions
Our children are our most valued treasures. If you or your child has been harmed in an automobile accident, you will likely have questions about those rights and how to proceed. The compassionate, experienced Oregon personal injury lawyers at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield will be happy to answer all your questions in a free consultation. Contact us today.