North Carolina Traffic Accidents Involving Children — a Look at the Facts

Children face additional risks when they are involved in an accident. They may be more susceptible to serious injury and could be even more vulnerable to impact if not properly restrained. According to 2013 statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, motor vehicle accidents were the leading cause of death for children at age 4 and every age between 11 and 14. Our Charlotte car accident attorneys are experienced in representing the victims and families of motor vehicle accidents.

Whether in rural areas, suburbs, or in the city, children and teenagers can be distracted and fail to pay attention to oncoming traffic. In addition to the risk children face because of impact, they can also face serious injury by motor vehicle as pedestrians or on bicycle. New statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that in 2011, there were 4,432 pedestrian accident fatalities. The 14 and younger range accounted for 20 percent of those injuries.

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While all bikers are at risk of motor vehicle accidents, young children, children riding in groups, and teenagers can be at additional risk on the road. Inexperience, distraction and other factors can influence how a child rides and whether that child can avoid an accident. According to recent statistics, children aged 14 and younger accounted for 59 percent of bike accident fatalities in 2011.

Most people know that seat belts can reduce the risk of accident or injury. In cases involving children, seat belts can reduce injury, but can also pose additional risks to young passengers. Recent research suggests that the use of seat belts for children aged 5 and over can reduce the risk of injury by 50 percent. In 2011, there were 4,453 passengers under the age of 14 who suffered in fatal accidents. Statistics indicate that in 20 percent of those cases, the children were not wearing seat belts. If you have children, you should continue to remind them to buckle up: 263 children’s lives were saved by seat belts in 2011. Child safety seats can also reduce the risk of accidents or injury by 71 percent.

Some of the most tragic accident cases involving children are caused by drunk drivers. As innocent victims of these collisions, children can suffer the most severe and fatal injuries. The new statistics show that 16 percent of accidents that resulted in death to a child were caused by a drunk driving accident. Fifty percent of these cases involved child passengers of a drunk driver. In 2011 there were also 25 children who were pedestrians or cyclists struck by drivers with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher.

Children often suffer some of the most severe or catastrophic injuries when involved in an accident. They could suffer head or neck injuries, permanent injury, broken bones, paralysis or even accidental death. When faced with these injuries, children could face a lifetime of pain, suffering and complications. Many will require 24-hour care into adulthood if they survive an auto collision. If you have a child passenger or if you are a motorist on the road, be aware of the potential risks.

Car accident victims and their loved ones should contact the Lee Law Offices at 800-887-1965.

More blog entries:

Are You Properly Protecting Your Child in the Car? Most Parents Aren’t!, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, August 30, 2012

Carolina Accident Watch: Schools Back in Mean Child Pedestrians Out, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, August 10, 2012.

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