Study examines child fatality rates in car accidents

According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Harvard, Pennsylvania is one of the states with the lowest percentages of child fatalities in motor vehicle accidents. The study looked at data on fatalities by state among children younger than 15 between 2010 and 2014. In that time, a total of 2,885 children died in traffic accidents. The region with the largest number of fatalities was the South with 1,550. The Northeast had the fewest with 189.

The vehicles that had the fewest fatalities were vans and minivans. More than 60 percent of accidents happened on rural roads compared to 35 percent on state highways. In 9 percent of the fatalities, a driver was under the influence.

The study identified the proper use of restraints, such as seat belts and car seats, as one of the best ways to prevent fatalities. Just a 10 percent increase in this proper use would reduce the number of child deaths by 230 per year. Around one-fifth of the children killed were not correctly restrained, and 13 percent should not have been seated in the front. One of the researchers also said the study demonstrated that consistent enforcement of state laws and regulations was important.

Car accidents may happen because a driver is drunk, distracted, sleepy or careless. When an accident happens, even if it is not fatal, it may be costly and life-changing. Whether a person is permanently injured following a motor vehicle accident or suffers a less serious injury, such as whiplash or a broken bone, there may be medical expenses, the cost of repairing a vehicle and lost wages from work. If another driver is to blame and compensation from insurance is inadequate to cover these costs, the injured victim might benefit from having legal assistance when seeking compensation for these and other losses.