Children are told following the rules will keep them safe. The advice only works when other people, including adults, follow the same rules. Cook County pedestrians depend on traffic controls to help them cross streets, but if the controls fail or an inattentive truck driver ignores them, a pedestrian is in danger.
A lawsuit filed this month in St. Clair County alleges a negligent truck driver disregarded the rights of a pedestrian, a boy who was walking to middle school. The child was struck in a crosswalk while crossing State Route 3. The complaint blames the City of Columbia, the truck driver and the owners of the truck for the boy's serious injuries.
The child's guardian filed the claim on the minor's behalf. The suit said the student suffered painful injuries to his limbs, face, back and head that deprived the child of enjoying life. A damage award of more than $150,000 was requested.
The accident victim was heading to Columbia Middle School a year ago. He stopped at a State Route 3 intersection to push a traffic control button. The complaint said the student entered the crosswalk when he was given a "WALK" signal.
Allegations against the truck driver included failing to yield, slow down and avoid the accident. The driver also was charged with neglecting to control the truck or use care while driving toward the intersection. Reports did not state the specific charges against the city or the truck owner.
Federal transportation officials reported 1,141 children, ages 14 and younger, made up four percent of 32,367 nationwide traffic deaths in 2011. Another 171,000 children suffered injuries. Eleven thousand children were injured in pedestrian accidents and 65 percent of the victims were male.
Children assume adult rules will protect them. Injured minors' voices in legal actions are adults who can act on their behalf, including attorneys who can hold negligent adult drivers responsible for hurting children.
Source: The Madison-St. Clair Record, "Suit: Boy struck by truck driver while trying to walk to school" Record News, Mar. 18, 2014