Kids at Play this Summer
Summer is now upon us. It is more important than ever to be cognizant of children being out of school and out on the streets, sidewalks and roadways.
Summer is now upon us. It is more important than ever to be cognizant of school children being out of school and out on the streets, sidewalks and roadways at all of the hours of the day. The law imposes a very high duty on drivers to be diligent of children and there have been many cases where drivers have been held responsible after being in collisions involving personal injury to children in circumstances where they believe they should not have been held at fault.
This is in recognition of the fact that despite best efforts made by the community: parents, adults and schools to educate children about the rules of the road, children simply do not have the same capacity to adhere to the rules of the road and to assess their risk. There are many studies that show children are less capable due to their brain development and experience to judge distance and speed two key factors in assessing their risk when they are on the road and in the vicinity of cars. Children are also more likely to be actively engaged in play and to be in the moment, maybe concentrating more on following their friends than watching for danger posed to them by motor vehicles.
It is therefore very important that drivers be especially diligent in watching for children when engaged in high risk driving maneuvers which would include backing out of a driveway, turning right or left at an intersection, approaching a rise in the road where children could be crossing the road unable to see them coming possibly not at a marked intersection. A key important reminder is to be especially careful if you see one child on the sidewalk or in the roadway or near the roadway and to look for other children in the immediate vicinity as so often they travel in groups.
One of the reasons that the law imposes such a high duty on motorists when it comes to children is due to the risk of serious injury to occur to children when they are involved in collisions with cars. Very often a child injured in such an event is very lucky to escape suffering a brain injury. Obviously suffering a brain injury can easily be catastrophic for a child and even a minor brain injury can have a life long impact on the child involved and their family.
Not only can a brain injury seriously impact the ability of a child to continue with their normal education it can impact their ability to live independently in the future and be financially independent. The funds that can be accessed for medical rehabilitation and family/school supports are not insignificant but can be easily exhausted over a number of years and of course it will take many years to determine what the permanent implications of a brain injury are going to be as their brains are still developing and its difficult to predict to what extent they will be able to adapt to permanent impairments.
In addition to motorists being careful when they are driving and cognizant of the risks of injury their car poses to children the importance of having educational initiatives to train children on the importance of wearing helmets and learning and following the rules of the road can not be underemphasized. In our community, we are so lucky to have community programs and an example of which would be Cycling into the Future which works actively to equip children with safe bikes, helmets and to actually take them out riding in the community to teach them hands on the rules of the road.
Lisa Morell Kelly - Lisa@morellkelly.com