According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report, in 2010 an estimated 70,000 were injured and 4,280 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the US, which constitutes 13 percent of the all motor-vehicle fatalities in US. The major problem is the pedestrian injuries and death among children. Although in recent years the pedestrian-vehicle death rate among children ages 15 and under has decreased greatly, pedestrian injury remains the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children of the age group under 15. Moreover, in children less than five years, pedestrian injuries are a significant cause of death whereas the death rate attributed to non-traffic pedestrian injuries is higher in children of ages one through four than for any other age group. In 2010, 23% of the children aged under 5 years killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians.
Pedestrian injuries to children mostly occur when a vehicle crashes the child cross a street. The physical damages of the accidents include death, broken bones and fractures, neck or back injuries with protruding or herniated disc, knee, leg and ankle injuries, nerve damages, head injuries, hemorrhages, subdural hematomas, scarring and disfigurement.
In general, the combination of factors, among which is unsafe pedestrian behavior, vehicle and driver factors, problematic physical environment, contribute to the problem. It is important to emphasize, that unsafe pedestrian behavior is a major factor in pedestrian injuries and fatalities whereas jaywalking is one of its biggest manifestations.
The research on the problem is conducted by the NHTSA’s Center for National Statistics and Analysis, the World Bank, the American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, regional centers for injury prevention research and education etc. In addition, the scholars of top-ranked universities like University of Alabama, Harvard, are examining the problem.
Most studies concentrate on the statistical analysis of the pedestrian injuries within different age groups, geographic areas or gender. Nonetheless, it is essential to address the question of the causative constituent and understand why the particular group is at risk. Careful examination of the factors, contributing to the pedestrian injuries, may help to develop and implement the complex program for minimization of the injuries within particular group. As it was discovered earlier, children pedestrian injuries and traffic fatalities rates are extremely high. Thus, in order to understand the nature of children-related pedestrian injuries, one should formulate a question: Why children are so vulnerable to pedestrian injuries?
In order to develop a specific hypothesis to investigate the research question of causes for high rates of child pedestrian injuries, it is important to narrow and refine general hypothesis.
In our case, the general hypothesis could be formulated as: Children are vulnerable to pedestrian injuries because of their physiological distinctions. Consequently, in order to narrow down the scope of the research, it is essential that the researcher defines concrete features of children’s physiology contributing to pedestrian injuries.
The specific hypothesis could be formulated as:
Children are especially at risk of pedestrian injuries as they are subject to traffic threats that outgo their physical, cognitive, developmental, behavioral and sensory abilities.
This is a testable hypothesis where the children pedestrial injuries is a dependent variable whereas physical, cognitive, developmental, behavioral and sensory abilities of a child are independent variables in experiment.
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