Road Management & Engineering Journal
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NHTSA Publishes 1997 Highway Injury and Fatality Statistics for Children
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), "[m]otor
vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children from 6 to 14 years old."
NHTSA recently published "Traffic Safety Facts 1997: Children" (DOT HS 808 765).
Breaking out statistics on children from national traffic crash data bases, NHTSA
produced a summary of the 1997 data on children injured and killed by motor vehicle
crashes. Some of the findings are listed here.
- The almost 58 million children (ages 0-14 years) in the United States resident
population in 1997 represented about 22 percent of the total population.
- Of 41,967 traffic fatalities in the U.S. in 1997, 6 percent or 2,656 were children
(0 to 14 years of age).
- Moreover, 331,000 children were injured in motor vehicle crashes in 1997,
representing 10 percent of total crash-related injuries.
- On average, "7 children 0-14 years old were killed and 908 were injured every
day in motor vehicles crashes during 1997."
- Twenty-one percent of the crashes that killed children in 1997 were alcohol-
- Of the children killed in alcohol-related crashes, 261 were passengers in
vehicles driven by drinking drivers and 93 were pedestrians or pedalcyclists hit
by drinking drivers.
- Of the 5,307 pedestrian fatalities in 1997, 592 (11 percent) were children. An
additional 24,000 children were injured in motor vehicle crashes--31 percent of
the total number of pedestrians injured.
- Of the 813 pedalcyclist fatalities in 1997, 232 (29 percent) were children. Forty
percent of pedalcyclists injured in motor vehicle crashes were children.
- NHTSA estimated, "Child safety seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 69
percent for infants and by 47 percent for toddlers."
- Moreover, "lap/shoulder safety belts, when used, reduce the risk of fatal injury to
front seat occupants (age 5 and older) of passenger cars by 45 percent and the
risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent."
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