For most New Yorkers this information may seem counter-intuitive. Even “fake news” possibly. But all any skeptic need do to allay his or her doubts is to examine the latest data from the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to confirm the following statement:
Nationally, the death rate of children caused by motor vehicles on a per capita basis was more than twice that found in New York City (4.4 deaths per 100,000 children compared to 1.8 deaths per 100,000 children).
But, motor vehicles still kill more children between the ages of 1-12 than any other form of injury-related death of children in the United States, and that includes New York City.
“Even one death of a child caused by careless driving of a motor vehicle is one child too many,” Jay W. Dankner, managing partner of the top New York auto accident injury law firm of Dankner Milstein P.C. said. “We could get those numbers down even further, if drivers would pay more attention to the environment in which they drive their cars.”
With spring here and summer on the way, that means your children will most likely be out playing outdoors with friends, riding their bikes and zipping around town on all other modes of kid-powered transportation. But Jay Dankner alerts parents to be aware. “Nearly half of all fatal motor vehicle related accidents involving children occur during spring and summer evenings between the hours of 5pm and 11pm,” Dankner warned.
“I realize it’s hard for you to supervise a 12 year old on a bike in Brooklyn,” Dankner added. “But you as parents need to be vigilant and at least try your best to enforce boundaries on where your child can, and can’t, ride. Big city parks that close their thoroughfares in early evenings to vehicular traffic are safer places for children on bikes and skateboards than traffic congested city streets and avenues.”
According to the DOHMH, fatal motor vehicle accidents involving children occur most frequently outside of Manhattan. The highest rates of motor vehicle accidents involving children are in Brooklyn and Queens (1.3 deaths per 100,000 children in 2017, compared to less than 0.8 deaths in the Bronx and Staten Island and 0.2 deaths in Manhattan). Motor vehicle accidents involving the death of child passengers occurred predominantly in Eastern Queens and South and Central Brooklyn.
During the school year, half of fatal child pedestrian accidents occur within 700 feet of a your child’s elementary, middle or junior high school. Dankner explained the high frequency of fatal accidents near schools reflects both the amount of time your children spend near schools before they close down for summer break, and the high density of schools across the City.
After schools close for summer, more children are injured and killed by a motor vehicle in or around their own neighborhoods. Additionally, statistics show that many of the fatal pedestrian injuries to children occurred when the child darted out from between parked cars, crossed against signals and crossed mid-block.
But being vigilant as a parent or child is only one part of the puzzle, according to Dankner.
“It is incumbent upon you, the driver, to consider that children do things such as this,” Dankner said. “If you are behind the wheel of a car you should keep an eye out for such foreseeable situations when driving. A child injured or killed as a result of inattentiveness and negligence is not a defense to a lawsuit against you if you are the driver,” Dankner said.
“Many child injuries and deaths caused by a motor automobiles are preventable,” he added. “Efforts to avert future injuries and deaths must involve a combination of better urban planning that make streets safer for children to ride, play and walk, plus stricter enforcement by city police of applicable laws and, most importantly, safe driving.”
For more information, or if you have been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact the top New York auto accident injury law firm of Dankner Milstein, P.C. by calling 212-751-8000. Or you can E-mail one of the firm’s lawyers for a free consultation.