It is a nightmare and profound tragedy every time a child loses his or her life in a motor vehicle crash. But Reuters reports that there is good news revealed in the crash data: rates of crash fatalities involving kids on foot or on bicycles continue to decline.
Researchers say that pedestrian accident data from 26 states (Massachusetts is not included) from 2000 to 2014 shows that collisions involving child pedestrians declined 40 percent and dropped 53 percent for child bicyclists.
The researchers noted that the decreases were not uniform – there are differences from state to state – but the common denominator is that in each state, a decline in child pedestrian crashes is evident.
“Pedestrian deaths and injuries can be prevented in a number of ways, namely through policy, built environment interventions, enforcement of traffic safety laws, and education,” said the study’s leader.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says crash fatality rates have declined over the past three decades, but that pedestrian fatalities have actually risen over the past five years.
Researchers analyzed crash data from the NHTSA and found that school-age kids accounted for about one third of pedestrians and half of bicyclists involved in accidents during the study period. Among 6,000 fatalities were among the nearly 485,000 injuries reported.
The low in annual school-age pedestrian crashes was in Arkansas, where 25 per 100,000 people were recorded, to a high of 100 per 100,000 people in the state of New York.
Researchers said crash severity and fatality rates are highest in rural areas, citing vehicle speeds, lack of sidewalks and greater distances to hospitals.