Many children throughout Orlando, Winter Park and surrounding areas walk to school, walk to friend's home or walk in the neighborhoods around their own houses. These children are one of the two age groups most likely to become involved in pedestrian accidents, along with the elderly. An Orlando personal injury lawyer knows children may be struck by cars because drivers are not paying attention or because drivers do not make smart choices when operating their vehicles.
However, there may also be another factor that helps to explain the increased risk of pedestrian accidents among kids: younger children tend to experience perceptual blindness.
Perceptual Blindness and Child Pedestrian Injuries
According to the Wall Street Journal, approximately a quarter of all fatal motor vehicle accidents involving children occur when the child is a pedestrian. Child pedestrians are less likely than adults to be able to see and respond to stimuli around them, which means that they may be less likely to be able to get out of the way if a careless or dangerous driver comes barreling along on the road.
Perceptual blindness refers to an inability or reduced ability to see unexpected objects or stimulus when focused on something else. In other words, your brain cannot multi-task effectively to shift focus away from whatever you are paying attention to when something unexpected happens.
Researchers in Germany recently conducted a study to measure the impacts of perceptual blindness in children. A total of 480 school-aged children ranging in ages from eight to 15 were part of the study. The participants were both boys and girls.
The kids were asked to watch videos of people playing basketball and to count how many times the number of players wearing white shirts passed the ball. As the kids were watching the third basketball video, a man in a gorilla suit walked all the way across the court in the angle of the camera. The gorilla suited man was visible to the children watching the video for a full nine second period of time.
After they had watched, the children were asked whether they saw anything unusual. Among the eight-year-old children, only 15 percent said they had seen the gorilla. Among the nine-year-old children, 31 percent of the kids reported seeing the gorilla. Among the 10-year-old children, 32 percent commented that they saw the gorilla man.
Although the children's ability to respond to this stimuli got better as they got older, kids aged 10 and under were still much worse than adults at recognizing something unexpected that was in their peripheral vision.
By the time a child reaches 11-years-of-age, the difference between the adult and child's ability to respond to these outside stimuli all but disappeared. Until that time, however, young pedestrian kids may simply not be able to see and respond quickly and effectively enough to keep themselves safe when a dangerous driver gets into their path.
Central Florida accident victims and families who lost loved ones can contact Orlando personal injury attorney Richard B. Troutman by calling 866-434-5770 or visit www.richardtroutman.com. Serving Orlando, Winter Park, FL and surrounding areas.