A kindergartner was killed earlier this month when she and her older cousin were hit by a truck while crossing the street near their home.
Our Tuscaloosa pedestrian accident attorneys are heartbroken for the family of this 5-year-old, who reportedly died at the hospital after being rushed there by the driver of the truck.
According to local police, the driver is not expected to be charged with a crime. News reports indicate that the driver was stopped at an intersection, then proceeded forward and immediately realized he had hit something. He stopped, realized he had struck both girls, loaded them both in his truck and called 911 as he raced to the hospital.
It's unclear at this point whether there is anything the driver could have done differently to have prevented this incident. The 14-year-old cousin later told investigators that she believed the driver of the truck had stopped for her and the younger girl, which is why she proceeded into the intersection.
She too was injured, though she is expected to make a recovery. In a testament to what a small world we live in, the driver of the truck actually knows the family of the girl who was killed.
While the investigation is still ongoing, it highlights the importance of teaching our children pedestrian safety from a very young age. We know it may not prevent injury or wrongful death in every case, but we have a responsibility to do the best we can to arm them with information that will prompt them to use caution around moving vehicles.
Safety advocates suggest the following:
- When your child is still a toddler, begin teaching her that she must always hold an adult's hand when near the road and must never enter the road alone.
- Explain to even young children the importance of paying attention to their surroundings when they are out walking - especially when crossing the street.
- Make sure children know that they must always stop, look and listen before stepping into the street.
- Teach your preschooler to stay on the sidewalk. If she is crossing, teach her to first stop, look both ways - twice - and listen closely for oncoming traffic. Walk school routes with them, and have them help you decide when it might be safe to cross the street.
- Make it a general rule for your child to make eye contact with a driver at an intersection before crossing the street.
- Instruct your children about crosswalk signs, and what each signal means. Teach her how to press the button and determine when it is safe and unsafe to cross.
- Teach your child to look both ways even when the signal has given the go-ahead.
- Make sure your child knows to be extra careful when walking past driveways, especially those that are obstructed or hidden. Same rules apply for crossing street corners and alleys.
- Elementary school children should be taught about bicycle safety rules, as well as the basics of driving safety. They should have a basic understanding of what red, yellow and green lights mean and how they should react tho them as pedestrians.