Number of children killed by cars increases statewide

42 children fatally struck in 2016

By Louis Bolden - Investigative Reporter

For years, Florida has ranked as one of the most dangerous state for pedestrians. It's also one of the states that leads the nation with children being hit and killed by cars.

Most people think children will be safe if they cross the street in crosswalks and play close to home, but that's not always the case. 

Three weeks ago, paramedics rushed to the scene in Rockledge after a mother and her two children were hit by a car.

She was riding a bike, pulling her children in a carriage when a car ran a stop sign and hit them in the crosswalk, according to police.

All three survived, but it's often not the case.

Monica Zow knows firsthand. Zow saw the moment the driver of a white SUV crashed into her 6-year-old son Camari. He was killed.

"Trying to wake up in the morning time knowing that you're not getting him ready for school anymore. It’s so hard," Zow said.

In 2015, 36 children died in Florida after being hit by cars. In 2016, half a dozen more died, increasing the number to 42.

Camari was the first of 2017. He was riding his bike in his driveway and killed in front of his house on New Year’s Day.

"It’s not getting better," Zow said about losing her son. "I just go day by day."

Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Kim Montes said it happens too often.

"We need drivers to be paying attention to these children," Montes said  

Montes said drivers are often to blame when it comes to children being hit by cars and killed.

"A lot of these kids are hit in crosswalks," she said.  "They have the right of way. They've been taught to do the right thing, and drivers are not doing the right thing." 

Montes said children should be extra cautious even when they're in crosswalks, even when they have the light and even when there are crossing guards nearby. 

"What I would say to other drivers is pay more attention," Zow said.  "Act like the people that's walking down the road are your people."

Statistics show most children are hit by cars between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Troopers said drivers should take extra precautions during those times and always when driving through school zones.

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