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Do drivers owe a duty of care to children?

Illinois drivers encounter a variety of different individuals while on the road. Drivers can pass other vehicles, large commercial trucks, bikers and pedestrians. In any situation, a driver needs to act carefully in order to avoid an accident. In general, a driver has a duty of care while behind the wheel. This duty of care means that they must avoid acting negligently while driving. Negligent behavior can include failing to follow traffic rules, speeding, driving while distracted, texting and driving, failing to adjust to weather conditions and engaging in other dangerous behavior.

By avoiding this type of behavior, people can keep themselves and others on the road safe. However, people may want to know whether or not they have a special duty to specific individuals in or near Illinois roadways. In particular, drivers may be interested to know that they have a special duty of care towards children.

Children can commonly be seen around roadways in Illinois. Children are often the victim of auto-pedestrian accidents, and therefore special care must be taken to keep them safe. Data shows that children between the ages of 5 and 9 are at a high risk for being involved in a pedestrian accident.

Drivers must exert a greater duty of care when they know or should have known that children are in the area. Drivers need to be aware that children are unpredictable and are less visible to drivers. Drivers then need to compensate for these problems.

For example, a driver may need to drive slower in an area where the person knows children may be playing. This includes residential areas, near parks or schools.

If drivers fail to uphold their duty of care, they may be held liable if a car accident occurs. In these situations, car accident victims may be entitled to compensation from the negligent driver.

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