Despite being a common part of daily life, the simple act of riding in a car is one of the most dangerous activities a child or teen can participate in. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motor vehicle crashes are responsible for one out of every four unintentional injury deaths in children under the age of thirteen.
The World Health Organization reports that traffic injuries are the leading cause of death in persons between ages 10 and 19. There are many factors contributing to these staggering statistics. With preventative measures, parents can both reduce their child’s chances of being involved in an accident, and reduce the severity of injuries which are sustained in an accident. When accidents do occur, injured children have the legal right to be compensated for their injuries and losses.
Protecting Your Child From Car Accident Injuries
One of the most important steps parents can take to protect their young children from car accident injuries is the proper use of vehicle safety equipment. The National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration has issued guidelines for appropriately-sized car and booster seats. Even when a child is old enough and large enough to graduate out of a booster seat, it is important to continue using safety measures within the vehicle. Children under twelve should always ride in the back seat. Seatbelts should lie across the upper thighs, and fall snugly across the shoulders and chest. Seatbelts which fall on the stomach, neck, or face cannot adequately restrain a child in the event of a collision.
Older children also face significant risks of being seriously injured in car accidents. According to AAA, new teen drivers aged sixteen to seventeen are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal traffic accident than adults. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reports that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for American teenagers. But why is this? Several risk factors have been identified. The New York Times reports that adding one non-family passenger to a teen’s vehicle increased the odds of having an accident by forty-four percent. Distracted driving is another common cause of accidents - one to which teens are particularly susceptible. Forbes reports on a Governors Highway Safety Association study which found teens to be the largest age group of drivers who were distracted at the time of an accident. While distraction is dangerous for any driver, it is particularly problematic for young, inexperienced drivers who are not always prepared to deal with obstacles in the road.
Protecting Your Child’s Legal Rights After a Car Accident
The Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes make many provisions for safe driving behaviors. Chapter 33 of Title 75 regulates passing, following too closely, texting while driving, and other dangerous driving behaviors. Violation of this law makes a driver legally responsible for all losses caused by the violation. Accident victims are legally entitled to be compensated for their medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, property damage, and any other financial loss which was caused by the driver’s negligence. An experienced Hazleton car accident attorney will secure compensation for accident victims and hold negligent drivers responsible for their dangerous conduct.