Regular readers will recall that just over a year ago, a car about 18 miles south of Portland swerved on to a sidewalk, striking two 13-year-old girls. The middle-schoolers were initially listed in critical condition, but slowly began recovery; the driver was later arrested for being under the influence of inhalants at the time of the pedestrian accident.
As we noted at the time, the Wilsonville case highlighted the potential civil liability of drivers. Even when a pedestrian might share part of the blame for the accident (wearing dark clothing on a foggy night, for instance), if the fault attributed to the driver is greater, the pedestrian might be able to successfully press for damages for injuries.
Unfortunately, that case of young pedestrians being struck by a vehicle is not an isolated one. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a report in April 2014 that showed how widespread pedestrian accidents involving children are in Oregon and across the nation.
In 2012, there were 255 deaths among pedestrians 14 years old and younger nationally. Of all traffic fatalities in that age group, 22 percent were pedestrians. Forty-two percent of fatal accidents involving the group occurred between 4 p.m. and 7:59 p.m.; another 22 percent of fatalities happened from 8 p.m. to 11:59 p.m.
In Oregon, two pedestrians between the ages of 1 and 3 were fatalities that year; two more between the ages of 4 and 7 were killed; and four pedestrian kids between the ages of 8 and 14 were struck and killed in the state.
The crucial takeaway is to watch most carefully for the youngest pedestrians of all in the after school hours between 4 p.m. and midnight.