Law Offices of Paul K. Schrier, PLLC

The South leads the nation in one terrible statistic

Fatal car accidents - we hear about them all the time in the news. And when these fatal crashes involve children, they become even more tragic.

In the United States, fatal accident statistics can vary from state to state and region to region. One statistic that is part of a recent study is particularly grim: The South has the most motor vehicle fatalities involving children under age 15.

What makes this study unique?

In a new study conducted by researchers at Harvard University and UT Southwestern Medical Center, researchers aimed to look at trends in regional and state data regarding child fatalities in motor vehicle accident, an objective that is unprecedented. They then sought to account for differences based on geography and state laws.

Overall, 2,885 children died in fatal crashes nationwide over the review period, spanning from 2010 to 2014. This represents a mortality rate of .94 per 100,000 children each year.

How does the South compare to other regions?

The South had the most fatalities with 1,550 children at a mortality rate of 1.34. This was followed by the Midwest with 585 fatalities and a mortality rate of .89, and the West at 561 fatalities and a morality rate of .76. The safest region by far was the Northeast, with 189 child fatalities and a .38 mortality rate.

Many factors can contribute to child-related auto accident fatalities. The researchers in this study surmise, however, that many of the fatal crashes occur on rural roads and involve improperly used or unused seatbelt and car seat restraints.

How does Florida compare to other states?

This study also evaluated data by state. Florida ranked third among the states with the most child fatalities in this four year period. States with fatalities over 100 included the following:

  1. Texas - 346
  2. California - 200
  3. Florida - 144
  4. North Carolina - 132
  5. Georgia - 130
  6. Alabama - 125

By comparison, the following states had less than 10 child-related car accident fatalities:

  1. Rhode Island - 3
  2. Alaska - 4
  3. Delaware, New Hampshire and Vermont - 5
  4. Maine - 7
  5. Hawaii - 9

How can fatalities be reduced?

Based on the findings of this study, it was also determined that accident fatalities are greatly influenced by state laws and regulations as well as consistency of enforcement. Because of this, fatal accident statistics could be impacted by strengthening regulations, encouraging the use of proper restraints and enforcing drunk- and reckless-driving laws.

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