Parents try to do their best, teaching their children not to talk to strangers, to come in before dark, and of course, to look both ways before crossing the street. However, as much as parents may try to instil these simple rules into their sons and daughters, kids are bound to break them.
Having to endure the heartbreak that comes with seeing a child seriously injured, or even worse, killed is every mother’s worst nightmare. For the parents of one youngster in Høyanger, Norway the nightmare nearly became reality.
On June 19 of this year, a young boy exits a bus with four of his peers. He then tries to cross the road without checking for traffic. However, out of his sight is a massive transport tuck barreling down the road toward him. Less than one second meant the difference between life and death, as the huge vehicle narrowly misses hitting the boy in what would surely have been devastating accident.
Tor Bjørn Kyrkjebø, who was driving the truck, said he saw what was about to happen but there was little he could do. He describes how he witnessed five children exit the bus. Three of them went to the front, while two attempted to cross the road from behind. A huge mistake, as this blocked their line of vision for oncoming traffic.
He claims he flashed his lights and sounded his horn to try and alert the children of his presence, but one still ran in front of the truck. He his lucky that he managed to hit the breaks just in time, and that the truck was able to stop only inches away from the child.
“I saw over the roof of the bus the truck was heading at it at a great speed. I blinked my lights and horn to alert the traffic and young people,” he explained. “I was completely hot in my head.” Kyrkjebø revealed that the near-miss was “horrible to see”. He has saved the dashboard camera footage and now shows it to young children to warn them of the potential dangers of crossing the road without first taking precautions. “I showed that movie when I came home and tried to explain the kind of thing this could be,” Kyrkjebø, pictured below, said. “They were also shocked by the madness that could have gone. So I hope they have learned.”
Brakar, the transport company that owns the bus the children were departing from, said the driver had stopped at an approved bus stop, but that the company would now be investigating to avoid “similar unfortunate episodes in future”. Terje Sundfjor, representing Brakar, urged the public to “report such happenings to us quickly, with time, city and route number so that we can take it further and take appropriate measures”. While the incident could have been tragic, “we are very happy that this worked out well,” Sundfjor continued. Although this little boy may have been very lucky, many others are not. Statistically, unintentional injury is by far the leading cause of death of children. Specifically, getting hit by a car is the third leading cause of death among five to nine-year-olds.
In the United States, at least fifty kids get backed over by vehicles every week! This has led to inventions such as the rearview backup camera, but perhaps instilling the importance of looking both ways before crossing the street is still the most effective way to prevent tragedy.
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