Children at Highest Risk for Pedestrian Accidents in Arkansas

Pedestrian Accident in Fort Smith Sends Teenager to Hospital

A terrifying pedestrian accident in Fort Smith, Arkansas recently highlighted the increased danger automobiles pose to children. Just last week a high school student was struck and injured by a reckless driver while crossing the street in a marked crosswalk in Fort Smith. The student was just blocks from school when a vehicle, operated by a 35-year old man, plowed into him. The injured boy was rushed to a Fort Smith hospital and then flown to Little Rock for more extensive treatment.

The man behind the wheel was suspected of operating an automobile while under the influence. He was arrested and charged with second degree battery (though additional charges could be pending).

As terrible as this latest pedestrian accident in Arkansas is, it’s a scenario that plays out all too often in our area. No matter how many times we tell our children to be careful, look both ways, wait until cars stop before crossing the street, traffic crimes like this continue to happen, through no fault of our own.

Why Kids Are Too Often Victims of Pedestrian Accidents

Statistics show that children and elderly individuals share the highest risk of being involved in a pedestrian accident in Arkansas. Indeed, that age-related risk factor remains true all across America and in other parts of the world. But why are children so often the victims in automobile crashes?

Researchers at The University of London discovered that young children actually lack the mental faculties to perceive the danger of oncoming cars. Their findings suggest that a developing mind still hasn’t grasped the necessary mathematical capacity to perceive spatial relations in an accurate fashion. When children see an oncoming car, they simply don’t realize that it will collide with them by the time they’re its path.

Even older children’s ability to perceive the danger of an oncoming car did not match that of adults tested. In fact, “the scientists determined that children could not reliably detect a car approaching at speeds higher than 20 miles per hour.”

So Who is to Blame?

Some skeptics blame the victims for stepping into the road at inappropriate times, failing to pay attention to their surroundings, or even wearing dark clothing in dim lighting. However, the fact remains that Arkansas traffic law states that drivers must yield to pedestrians.

  • 27-51-1202 of Title 27 of the Arkansas Code states that:

“Where traffic-control signals are not in place or in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. . .”

Additionally, children are further protected under § 27-51-1204 which states:

“. . . every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon any roadway and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary and shall exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any confused or incapacitated person upon a roadway.”

In short, the responsibility for protecting those crossing the street—especially children—rests squarely on the shoulders of drivers. And when they fail in that legal responsibility, they can be held liable for the injuries they cause.

Get the Legal Help You Need

If you or a loved one has been injured by a reckless driver while crossing the street, you need an Arkansas pedestrian accident attorney on your side. Contact the Pfeifer Law Firm today to speak with an experienced attorney and start down your personal road to recovery. Call 501-374-4440 for a free consultation or chat with us online.


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