Articles Posted in Child Safety

renton pedestrian accidentSchools are in session at schools across Washington state and safety for children who are walking and bicycling to school must be a priority for all motorists. School zones – areas surrounding schools – alert motorists that children are present and requires them to slow down. School zones are often marked with signage and/or flashing lights and sometimes school crossing guards.

School zones prevent serious injuries and fatalities by requiring drivers to slow down. Studies show that if a car hit a person while traveling at 20mph, the fatality rate is 5 percent. As speeds increase, the fatality rate increases. At 30mph the fatality rate is 45 percent and increases to 85 percent at 40 mph.

Seattle has installed speed-enforcement cameras at a number of schools and has received around $14.8 million in revenue from the $189 fines that accompany speeding in school zones. They city plans to use this revenue to further enhance school zone safety.

Safety Around School Buses

Remember when you see a school bus:

  • Do not pass a school bus with flash lights and arm extended.
  • On undivided roads, all lanes of traffic must stop for school bus flashing lights.
  • Yellow flashing lights indicate that the school bus will be stopping to load or unload children and motorists should prepare to stop.
  • Red flashing lights indicate that the school bus is stopped children are getting on or off the bus at this time. Children can be unpredictable and can dash across the street without looking before or after boa4rding their bus so motorists. Motorists must remain stopped until the lights are no longer flashing.
  • School bus drivers are allowed, by law, to report a violation if motorists do not properly stop for flashing lights.

Tips for Motorists in School Zones

  • Motorists must stop for pedestrians at crosswalks regardless of whether the crosswalk is marked or unmarked. Every intersection is a crosswalk regardless of whether it is marked.
  • Pedestrians have the right of way and drivers must yield to them when turning.
  • Drivers should scan the roadway and sidewalks when driving near schools during school arrival and dismissal. Children can be unpredictable and dart from between parked cars to greet a friend.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given the Tesla Model S, an electric car, a 5-star safety rating in every category that the vehicle was tested. This makes the Tesla Model S the safest vehicle ever tested by the NHTSA. Read Tesla’s Press Release.

In earning a combined 5.4 star rating, the Model S scored 5 stars in front, side, rear and rollover car accident tests, making it the car in which occupants are least likely to be injured.

One of the advantages of the Model S, as far as safety is concerned, is that it has a longer crumple zone because it does not have a large gasoline engine block.

The Model S can be equipped with children’s seating in the third row and it is equipped with a double bumper with the third-seat option is chosen. Because of the double bumper, the vehicle received a 5 star in rear impact car accident testing. The third row seating is the safest for children in frontal or side impact car accidents.

In rollover accident testing, the testers were unable to make the car roll with normal methods. That is because the car has a low center of gravity because the battery pack is mounted below the floor pan.

The Model S is equipped with eight airbags including a head, knee and pelvis airbags in the front of the vehicle and two side curtain airbags. Other safety features include a rollover crash sensor, third row LATCH attachment for child safety seats, rear door child safety locks, three point driver and front passenger safety belts and secondary lab anchors.

This award is exciting for Tesla Motors, Inc., of California, which was founded in 2003.

Tesla Motors began retail delivery of the Model S in June of 2012.
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You know that little chime that dings until you put your seat belt on? Studies show that seat belt reminder systems such has that ding increase a driver’s seat belt usage. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would like to increase the seat belt reminders to increase seat belt usage in rear seats as well, where children are most likely to be sitting.

seattle car accident attorneyA new law, MAP-21 “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21-st Century,” authorizes the NHTSA to initiate rules within the next two years which would require auto manufacturers to install seat belt reminders in the rear seats as well.

Seat belt usage does save lives. A 2010 study found that driver death rates were 6% lower in vehicles with enhanced seat belt reminders. Another study found that seat belt reminder systems that had chimes for 90 seconds were more effective than ones with shorter chime duration.

In Washington state, we have the highest seat belt usage in the nation at 97.5% compliance. Perhaps with rear seat belt reminders and longer buzzers and chimes we will get to 100% compliance and save lives and serious injuries in car accidents.

This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in automobile accidents and the family of those who have been killed.
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Now that school is back in session it is important that parents and teachers teach children school bus safety to prevent accidents when getting on and off of the school bus.

Children need to be taught that school busses have blind spots in a ten foot radius all around the bus and while they can see the bus, the bus drive may not be able to see them. It is important that children be safe when getting on and off the school bus because this is the time when they are at risk of being run over.

seattle bus accident attorney

  • Arrive to the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.
  • Wait for the bus on the same side of the street as the school bus door.
  • Stand six feet, or three giant steps, back from the curb.
  • Use handrails when entering and exiting the bus.
  • Make sure that the student has no drawstrings or loose straps on jackets or backpacks that could get caught on the bus.
  • Upon getting off of the bus, the student should take five giant steps away from the bus.
  • If the child has to cross the street in front of the school bus, they should walk at least five feet in front of the bus and make eye contact with the bus driver.
  • If the child drops something while getting off of the bus, they should not stoop to pick it up.

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As the warmer days of summer approaches the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warns parents and other caregivers about the extreme danger of leaving children and pets alone in cars.

Heat stroke (hyperthermia) is the number one cause of non-crash car deaths of children under the age of fourteen. Every year, an average of 33 children die from heat-stroke after being left in a car, truck or SUV. Many more children suffer serious injuries.
bellevue wrongful death attorneyIn Washington state because of our average cooler temperatures, we have not had the number of hyperthermia deaths to the degree as hotter states. Texas has had 80 child vehicular hyperthermia deaths between 1998 and 2011, Florida 58 in the same time frame while Washington state only had three.

While one conjures up the image of a deadbeat parent or caregiver when we hear about these kinds of accidental deaths, the truth is that people from all walks of life have lost a child from heatstroke after leaving a child unattended a motor vehicle on a hot day.

Rushed or stressed parents are not the only ones who have accidentally left a child alone in a vehicle. Bus drivers, baby sitters, summer camps and day care centers have occasionally left a child unaccounted for on a bus, in a van or in a car. A forgotten child occurs in approximately 52% of the deaths. In 30% of the accidental deaths, the child gained access to a vehicle and died while playing inside.

The Washington injury attorneys at The Farber Law Group joins the NHTSA in reminding parents to be extra vigilant during the summer months and to talk to their caregivers, babysitters and day camp personnel to insure they are exercising caution and care.

Safety tips to remember:

  • Never leave a child unattended in a motor vehicle even with the windows open or the air conditioning running.
  • Do not let children play in a vehicle ever.
  • Ask your child’s daycare or camp to call you if your child does not arrive on time.
  • Check your vehicle before locking and leaving it.
  • Place reminder like a teddy bar or a child’s diaper bag in the front seat to remind yourself that your child is in the vehicle. Or, leave your purse or cell phone in the rear seat as a reminder.
  • Keep your vehicle locked when parked and the keys out of a a child’s reach.
  • If you see a child unattended in a hot car, call 911 immediately and go to the aid of the child.

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Halloween can be dangerous for young pedestrians. According to Safe Kids USA, twice as many young pedestrians are killed in pedestrian accidents on Halloween compared to the other days of the year.

To prevent a tragedy, parents should talk with their children about pedestrian safety on Halloween and accompany them while trick or treating. Don’t assume they will remember the spiel you gave them last year.

Here are some child safety tips for the holiday:
seattle pedestrian accident

  • Children under the age of 12 should be acocmpanied by an adult. Children younger than 12 often forget safety rules when they are excited.
  • Walk on sidewalks and paths.
  • Walk facing traffic, if there is no sidewalks.
  • Look both ways before crossing the street and cross in crosswalks.
  • Make sure wigs, hats and masks don’t obscure a child’s view.
  • Make sure your child’s costume is not so long as to cause them to trip.

This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in pedestrian accidents and the family of those who have been killed.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children remain in rear-facing child seats at least until two years of age. This is a change to their previous recommendation of 1-year-old or 20 pounds.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has even broadened that recommendation and they say that children should ride in rear-facing seats as long as possible.

Why are rear-facing child seats safer?

rear_facing_booster.jpgThe reason that rear-facing child seats are safer is that, in a car accident, they provide more support of a child’s neck, head and spine.

Even with these recommendations, it is not easy for parents to keep their child in a rear-facing seat. Many rear-facing seats are only designed to 20 pounds and a 2-year-old can often weight 40 pounds or more. Or, a child who is tall but is skinny, may outgrow a seat long before they reach the weight that the seat is rated for. Therefore, parents may be required to purchase more than one car seat while their child is young.

Purchasing a child safety seat is often a confusing problem for many parents. A child must fit the seat and the seat must fit the car. This sounds like an easy objective to achieve, but it can be more difficult than one might thing.

One federal study found that, in up to 73% of the cases, child seats were not even installed in cars properly.

Parents are encouraged to consult Consumer Reports for information on child seat protection, ease of use and fit in various motor vehicles.

This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents and the family of those killed.

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NHTSA holds forum on child car seat safety

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New York state has become the first state in the U.S. to require convex or cross over mirrors to be installed on the front of large trucks with a gross weight of 26,000 pounds or more when driving within New York city.

The law is intended to avoid pedestrian accidents which are caused by blind spots. The push for the law to be enacted came after a four year old boy was killed when a delivery truck hit him while he was riding a tricycle. The truck driver did not see the boy because he was within the truck’s blind spot.

The new law is not supported by the New York State Motor Truck Association and their position is that it will not increase safety and that the law only applies to trucks actually registered in the New York state.

There are blind spots in most motor vehicles, areas of the road that can not be seen while a driver is looking forward or with the rear-view or side mirror. In trucks, because they are so large and high of the ground and the operator has such a high seating position, the blind spot can also be directly in front of the vehicle.

Many safety organizations call for safety measures in large SUVs as well. When backing up, a blind spot in the SUV can hide small children or vehicles including bicycles, which has resulted in the death of at least 50 small children.In fact, blind spot detection features are the safety feature that motorists want most in a new car.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents and the family of those who have been killed.


Truckinginfo New York Law Requires Convex Mirrors on Trucks in Big Apple

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We saw an article posted on Transportation for America, an organization that campaigns for pedestrian safety, about a mother who was charged and found guilty of vehicular homicide after her young son was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver.

How could this happen? Raquel Nelson, of Atlanta, was crossing the street with her children after stepping off of a bus at a bus stop located directly across from her apartment complex. Nelson and other people who lived at her apartment complex routinely crossed the road there to get home because the nearest crosswalk was a half mile away.

Nelson’s youngest son was struck and killed by a driver who than drove off. Nelson was charged and convicted because she had failed to walk the half mile in the dark to go to the nearest traffic signal. The jury convicted her of vehicular homicide and a judge sentenced her to probation and community service.

A charge of vehicular homicide is generally reserved for a person who is driving recklessly or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs so it was quite a surprise that the Cobb County prosecutor decided to charge a grieving mother with a serious crime when she didn’t even own a car.

Transportation for America has started a campaign to get Nelson’s conviction overturned. We’ll quote them here:

What about the highway designers, traffic engineers, transit planners and land use regulators who allowed a bus stop to be placed so far from a signal and made no other provision for a safe crossing; who allowed – even encouraged, with wide, straight lanes – prevailing speeds of 50-plus on a road flanked by houses and apartments; who carved a fifth lane out of a wider median that could have provided more of a safe refuge for pedestrians; who designed the entire landscape to be hostile to people trying to get to work and groceries despite having no access to a car?

This article certainly makes one think about the plight of the approximately 4,000+ people killed in pedestrian accidents every year. Of those killed in pedestrian accidents, the old and the young are the most common victims because these are the citizens who walk. The elderly, age 70 and over, are the most at risk for being killed in a pedestrian accident with the rate of pedestrian accident death approximately 62% higher for people 70 and older than for people under the age of 70.

For more information about Transportation America’s campaign on Nelson’s behalf, click here, “Demand full pardon for Raquel Nelson“.

This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in pedestrian accidents and the family of those killed.

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The Spokesman-Review reports that Eileen C. Jensen was not criminally negligent in the death of her daughter who was fatally injured in a Spokane car accident. Vehicular homicide charges were brought against Jensen because her baby’s car seat was improperly installed.

The car accident occurred on a Spokane street when Jensen rear-ended another vehicle. The airbags in Jensen’s Honda deployed and caused a brain injury to her daughter, Chloe Jensen, who died 11 months later.

Vehicular Homicide, RCW 46.61.520,
can be charged if a person is killed in a motor vehicle accident and the driver was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, was driving recklessly or driving with reckless disregard to the safety of others.

Witnesses described Jensen’s driving prior to the accident as “aggressive” and “reckless.”

Jensen’s public defender successfully argued that Jensen’s lapse was not criminally negligent.
Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen concurred and charges were dismissed.

This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in Seattle and Bellevue car accidents and the family of those killed. With our help, you may recover compensation for your damages.

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