Vehicle Drivers Have a Higher Duty of Care When Around Children

Most people remember when they first learned how to ride a bike or when they taught their children how to ride. It can be a scary time for both children and parents. Parents hope they have instilled the right training to keep their children safe as they venture out on their bikes and children worry about skinning knees and elbows.

Risks abound whenever a child shares a road with motorized vehicles. Recently, a 7-year-old boy in Florida was critically injured when he rode his bike through a crosswalk at a busy intersection. Skid marks of over 150 feet were left by a large truck as the driver tried to avoid the young biker. The child was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident and ended up in the hospital.

Although the driver of the truck was not at fault in this situation, the story raises the issue of driver responsibilities to children who are walking, biking or playing near a road.

Generally, drivers of motorized vehicles must use “reasonable care” appropriate for the current situation when operating their vehicles. Drivers also owe a higher level of care with their driving when children are present. Due to their small size, children are harder to see, especially if they are walking between parked cars or by vegetation at the side of the road.

The law requires that drivers must exercise greater care to avoid car accidents when they are in school districts or residential areas where children may be playing. If a driver sees a child, he or she is under an obligation to drive more carefully. This means being paying better attention to one’s driving and driving more slowly when children are present or are likely to be present.

In turn, children should follow some basic safety rules:

  • Always wear a helmet
  • Avoid biking at night
  • Assume that drivers do not see you as you approach and go through intersections
  • Obey all traffic rules, including stop signs and yield signs
  • Do not dart out from between parked cars or from an obscured driveway

Despite all precautions and safety training, unfortunate accidents do happen. If you or your child is injured in an accident caused by someone’s negligence, contact a personal injury attorney knowledgeable about accidents. An experienced lawyer can guide you through the stressful process of seeking compensation for your injuries.