The Easter holidays are over, and the school run is back. Although efforts are increasing to get pupils walking, cycling or scootering, many parents still have to rely on their car to get their children to school.
According to ROSPA, the safety of children outside schools is a particular concern.
School drop-off and pick-up times are especially busy with large numbers of vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians on surrounding roads.
ROSPA says every month, 1200 children are injured in traffic-related collisions that happen within 500 metres of a school. Almost half of all accidents on the road happen between 15.00 and 18.00.
SUVs and schools
Growing numbers of families now own sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and put them to good use ferrying children and friends to school.
In fact, SUVs now account for over half of all car sales in the UK according to industry magazine Autocar.
SUVs are considered ideal family cars with their extra seating and additional leg and headroom. People tend to think SUVs are safer with their larger, heavier frames than smaller, more compact cars, and they are generally considered safer if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a head-on crash.
However, SUVs’ increased weight, height and size can spell increased risk to pedestrians and other road users in the event of a road traffic accident.
In particular, the height of SUVs can restrict drivers’ ability to see anything a short distance in front of the car. This can mean that if a child crosses directly in front of an SUV there is a risk the driver won’t spot them, leading to a serious accident.
The above-average weight of SUVs has also been known to lead to a higher risk of catastrophic injuries or fatalities for those who are hit.
Research into SUVs and child safety
Research in America, where SUVs are more popular, suggests children are particularly at risk from SUV crashes.
A study published in the Journal of Safety Research estimates that child pedestrians or cyclists are 8 times more likely to be killed when hit by an SUV compared to a typically smaller, lighter passenger car.
This inevitably raises safety concerns for children with the growing number of SUVs at school pick-up and drop-off. A separate UK study found that an estimated 82% of child pedestrian injuries happen around these times during the school week.
Compensation after a SUV accident
Louise Gardner is a specialist personal injury solicitor from Novum Law’s Swindon team. She has many years’ experience supporting people injured in road traffic accidents that were not their fault, and says:
“Sports utility vehicles are more and more popular on our roads. Drivers should be aware of the potential risk their car poses to vulnerable road users, particularly when they are near schools where children might be in or near the road.
“If the worst occurs and a child is injured, it is important that their parent or guardian speaks to a specialist personal injury solicitor as soon as possible to get guidance on making a compensation claim.”
If you or a loved one has been injured in a serious road traffic accident that was not your fault in the last 3 years, our expert, compassionate team of personal injury solicitors can help on a ‘No Win, No Fee’ basis. We will work hard to ensure you get the maximum compensation and support you deserve.
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