Motor Vehicle Accidents
More than 30,000 people die every year in motor vehicle accidents, which are a leading cause of death among people between the ages of 1 and 54. For children between the ages of 1 and 4, it is the No. 1 cause of death, as it is for those ages 11 to 14.
Every single day in the U.S., three children are killed and 462 injured in traffic crashes. Although child motor vehicle deaths have declined since 1975, crashes still cause 1 in 4 unintentional injury deaths among children under 13.
Fort Lauderdale child injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Richard Ansara know most of these crashes are the result of negligence or reckless driving. For parents who are grieving a loss or struggling to help their child recover after a horrific crash, we work to hold reckless drivers accountable for their actions and help families recover their losses for medical bills, wage losses and pain and suffering.
Often, there are a number of factors that play into the causation of the accident and subsequent injuries. These include:
- Actions of all drivers involved
- Use of safety equipment (i.e., child safety restraints)
- Failure of vehicle equipment
- Unsafe road design or conditions
- Inadequate training of commercial drivers
Motor vehicle accidents don’t typically stem from intentional harm to a child. But it happens far too frequently, and children’s lives are cut short or forever altered, while those who love them most are left to pick up the pieces.
We can help.Thousands of Children Killed, Injured Each Year
Relatively speaking, children make up a small percentage of those injured and killed in traffic crashes. However, the fact that children are dying on our roads because of accidents that are entirely preventable is unacceptable.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported there were nearly 1,170 children under 14 killed in crashes in a recent single year, which is 3 percent of the total 33,000 people killed. That same year, there were nearly 170,000 kids injured.
In Florida, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, the cost to the public for child motor vehicle fatalities is $100 million a year in medical expenses and work losses.
These numbers are deeply troubling when you consider that so many of these deaths were preventable. We can and we must start doing more to protect our children. Although we can’t control the actions of other drivers, we can start by ensuring our kids are properly buckled in and secured.Child Safety Restraint Laws and Effectiveness
F.S. 316.613 spells out Florida’s Child Restraint Requirements. The statute was just updated effective Jan. 1, 2015.
Among those requirements:
- Children 3 and under must be restrained by a federally-approved device that is a separate carrier or a vehicle manufacturer’s integrated child car seat.
- Children ages 4 and 5 must use a separate carrier, an integrated child seat or a child booster seat (depending on the child’s height and weight).
- Children ages 6 to 17 have to wear a seat belt.
The new law extended the age of mandated child safety restraints to 4- and 5-year-olds. However, many states have child safety seat laws that extend to 8-year-olds.
Why do child safety restraints matter? Because it makes a big difference in a child’s chances of survival if in a South Florida car accident.
Of the more than 9,000 children killed in crashes between 2002 and 2011, the CDC reports one-third of them were not buckled up. Nearly half of Hispanic children who died in crashes and 45 percent of black children who died were not wearing seat belts.
A 2012 study by researchers at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety revealed that when car seat and booster seat use tripled (after those systems were required for children through the age of 8), the number of deaths and serious injuries plummeted by 17 percent.
Research by the NHTSA on seat belt effectiveness indicates child safety seats can reduce fatal injuries by:
- 71 percent for infants under age 1
- 54 percent for toddlers between the ages of 1 and 4
The onus is on parents and caregivers to ensure children are properly buckled in.
If you have questions about recover of damages for your child who was injured or killed in an auto accident, contact our offices today.