Why do racial minorities’ children, including African-Americans, account for a disproportionately larger share of pedestrian fatalities?
A study published at the National Institute of Mental Health found that in the 4-7 age group, 47% of all car-pedestrian fatalities happened to African-American children.
They also accounted for 37% of pedestrian fatalities in the 8-15 year-old group.
Out of all races, that’s by far the highest rate.
And that same study found children of all non-Caucasian races are more likely to be involved in fatal pedestrian accidents than Caucasian children.
Why Do Racial Minorities Get Involved in Fatal Pedestrian Accidents More Frequently?
So, the first question that comes to mind is, “Why does this happen?”
Because when you understand the why, then you can work on what to do about it.
Unfortunately, the study humble acknowledged it did not know exactly why. But it did come up with a few theories:
- A greater willingness of minority children to engage in risky behavior
- Lower awareness of pedestrian safety
- Families in these racial groups have lower incomes and less ability to afford childcare
- Cultural attitudes toward public safety
The research did find this same issue in developing nations. And in fact, it may be more pronounced, as larger vehicles use smaller roadways, and these nations typically have much less regulation regarding pedestrian safety.
What Can You Do?
If you find yourself in one of these at-risk groups, the fastest path to your child’s safety lies in doing everything you personally can do about it.
Educate your child yourself. Show them YouTube videos. Ask them questions so they understand why you always look both ways before crossing the street.
Make sure your child does the thinking. Don’t just impose rules on them. Because if they do the thinking, they’ll know what to do when you’re not around (because you can’t be all the time).
If your problem is child care, get your child involved in after-school programs. Get them in the Boys & Girls club in your area. Coordinate an arrangement where they go to your trusted neighbor’s house. Or, pay your friend to get them.
These are just ideas. You must understand your own situation. Analyze the gaps in your child’s safety. Find solutions that work for your specific situation.
Lobby Your School
To get safe ideas and behaviors firmly embedded in your child’s mind, it takes a team effort from all the major people and institutions in their lives.
Make sure your school understands your concerns about your child’s safety. Start a petition with other parents, if you have the courage.
Call your school superintendent, or your local county supervisor.
Get this issue on their radar. Because, when everyone works together, that results in the greatest safety for your child (and everyone else’s children too), and you could end up saving their life!
Shane V. Mullen is an attorney licensed by the State of Texas for the general practice of law, and the Managing Partner at Mullen & Mullen Law Firm in Dallas, TX. His firm focuses exclusively on personal injury law and has been in business for 40 years (since 1983). Before becoming a lawyer, Shane worked for his father as an accident injury claims investigator.