STOP FOR STUDENTS

Trauma experts explain how people can avoid getting hit by a car

Nov 9, 2023, 7:09 PM | Updated: Nov 10, 2023, 11:56 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Auto pedestrian accidents can be dangerous. After all, a person risks lifelong injuries if they’re hit by a large vehicle.

“These injuries certainly have lifelong impacts on these children and their families,” explained Dr. Katie Russell, a pediatric surgeon and the trauma medical director at Primary Children’s Hospital.

When walking or biking out on the street, even with a helmet on your head, there’s really not much to protect you. 

“If you get hit by a car going fast there’s a good chance you’re not going to make it,” Russell said.

That’s why pedestrians need to be aware of their surroundings. 

The trauma center at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City has seen an influx of teenage and toddler-age pedestrians who need treatment after getting hit by cars. 

“We see approximately 50 kids a year here at Primary Children’s Hospital and then also know that we don’t see everyone, right?” Russell said. “So there’s a lot of people out there that maybe didn’t make it. And then also people that had minor injuries that were treated with other hospitals.”

Most of them happen in crosswalks and school zones.

“So especially in those areas, you can’t be on your cell phone. You know, you can’t be looking down to view a text or being distracted in any way and you need to really slow down,” Russell said.

Child passenger safety technician Michelle Cameron said, “The biggest issue we see is distracted driving. I think also people in a hurry, you know that think that where they need to be is more important than paying attention.”

Distractions can range from changing the radio, picking something up in your car or dealing with another child.

You can also make your kids safer at crosswalks. Teach your kids to make eye contact with drivers when crossing the street or a driveway. Remind them to always look up and pay attention. 


This story is part of an ongoing KSL TV initiative called “Stop for Students.” We encourage all Utahns to share their stories and solutions as we work together to prevent more pedestrian tragedies in our state. Show your support and spread the word by requesting a decal of your own. 

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Trauma experts explain how people can avoid getting hit by a car