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Chart: Biggest Threat to Schoolchildren? Cars

A WNYC analysis of traffic safety risks

Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 09:54 AM

 

 

About 1,800 kids are hit by cars and trucks in New York City each year according to state Department of Motor Vehicle data.

"Kids really are the most unpredictable pedestrians," said Charles DiMaggio an associate professor at Columbia University who studies public health, "which puts the responsibility for their safety much more squarely on the shoulders of adults and drivers."

Although traffic fatalities are down more than a third since 2001, car crashes still kill more people than guns do in New York City.

WNYC looked for patterns in all the traffic crashes that injured a child in 2009, 2010, 2011, and from January of 2012 to April 2012, the most recent data available.

What we found is that patterns of pedestrian injuries to children have a few key distinctions from the way adults tend to be injured and in ways that point to some safety steps for parents and policy makers. 

One difference is timing. Though understandable, the difference is still stark: Children between the ages of five and 17 tend to get hit by cars most often in the hours they are walking to and from school — 6:30 - 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 - 4:30 p.m. on weekdays from September through June. School-age children make up nearly one third of all the pedestrian accidents during that time period. By contrast, adults are hit most often in the early evening, from 5 to 8 p.m.

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