Walking to school can be a happy adventure for some children, fostered by the sense of responsibility that they may feel, especially if they are walking without the presence and supervision of an adult. School crossing guards are often posted at busy intersections to make sure that children are safe as they navigate busy crossings. However, as any child injury attorney in New York knows, with or without these safety measures, tragedy can strike, leaving children the victims of devastating accidents.
Recently, a 6-year-old New York boy was the victim of such a tragic accident. He and his 9-year-old brother were crossing First Avenue on their walk to school when a tractor trailer made a right turn, hitting and killing the younger boy. Authorities reported that a crossing guard was scheduled to be at that intersection at the time of the accident. However, witnesses stated that there was no crossing guard there at the time. This particular crosswalk is one block from the boys’ East Harlem school.
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All drivers are required to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances, and a failure to meet this level of care can constitute negligence. Speeding, ignoring traffic signals, failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and failing to use turn signals are all examples of conduct that could be considered negligent.
However, drivers owe a special, higher duty of care to children, and must exercise a greater degree of caution when they know, or have reason to know, that children are in the immediate area. Driving near locations such as schools and playgrounds generally give rise to the need for this higher duty of care.
In this case, the truck driver received citations for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk and for failure to use due care while operating his truck. Authorities stated the investigation is continuing.
Source: NYtimes.com, “Truck Kills Boy, 6, as He Walks to School,” J. David Goodman and Randy Leonard, Feb. 28, 2013
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