Preventing Motor Vehicle Accidents
We all rely on motor vehicles to get us from Point A to Point B. Without cars and buses, families would have a difficult time making sure their children get to school and activities on time. For example, parents use cars to take kids to school, doctor’s appointments, parties, and extracurricular activities. School buses transport children to and from school, field trips, sporting events, and more.
Children are precious cargo and should be treated as such at all times. In the context of motor vehicles, responsibility primarily lies with adults to ensure children stay harm-free. Specifically, parents, family members, teachers, and school bus drivers can take steps to prevent children from suffering motor vehicle related injuries.
School & Bus Safety Statistics
While most people take car safety for granted, this is an area that must consistently be stressed. Below are statistics that illustrate the dangers children may face in a car or bus.
- Between 2002-2011, over 9,000 children ages 12 and under were killed in automobile accidents.
- In 2014, more than 120,000 children suffered some type of injury in an automobile crash.
- Approximately 134 people are killed in school bus accidents each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This figure includes students on the bus, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
Safety Issues Related to Automobile Injuries
- Drive safely – this is the most obvious tip. Drivers should exercise due care at all times when behind the wheel, which includes paying attention to surroundings, obeying traffic signals, and following the speed limit. Further, drivers should not get behind the wheel if they are too tired to drive, as fatigue can lead to delayed reaction times and impaired judgment. In addition, drivers should refrain from texting while driving as well as other forms of distracted driving.
- Buckle up – simply put, restraints and seat belts are in place to protect drivers and passengers. Private vehicles such as sedans and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) come with seat belts, and parents should make sure their kids know to buckle up any time they enter a car. Depending on the age of your child, a car seat may be the safer alternative. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates car seats can reduce the fatality risk of infants by more than 71%.
- Bus safety – taking the bus is how many children across the country get to and from school. Buses are large vehicles, which means drivers may have a difficult time seeing small children in the vicinity. As a parent, you can instruct your child as to how to act around school buses to prevent getting hit. For example, students should stand at least six feet away from a bus and refrain from playing or running at the bus stop. Moreover, children should never walk behind a bus.
- Leaving children unattended – parents should not leave children alone in a vehicle. There are many ways in which a child can get hurt if he or she is left unsupervised. For example, children can injure themselves through use of power windows, being entangled in a seat belt, or getting trapped in the trunk.
Although motor vehicle accidents occur on a daily basis, most people do not realize that generally speaking, most can be prevented in the first place. As long as people pay attention, understand risks, and use reasonable judgments, injuries can be avoided. Below are additional resources for parents to utilize when considering car and bus safety.