Vehicle accidents involving pedestrians are one and a half times more likely to be deadly than passenger tiding in the passenger seat during an auto accident. On average, the United States has consistently seen around 6,000 deaths per year, the equivalent of 16 deaths per day, according to the US Department of Transportation. Although that may seem like a low number compared to the whole population, that equates to about one fatality every 88 minutes.
Moreover, the number of pedestrian fatalities has been steadily increasing yearly at an alarming rate, climbing from 4,300 in 2010 to nearly 6,300 in 2018, according to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA). As the rate of pedestrian involved accidents continue to rise and the death toll continues to rise, it is increasingly more important to assess your risk and take necessary safety precautions.
Who’s Most At Risk?
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), men and women over the age of 65 and children under 5 are most at risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident as a pedestrian. Additionally, the CDC reports 33% of pedestrians involved in vehicle accidents have a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher, while 17% of drivers involved in pedestrian accidents are reported to have been driving under the influence.
The US Department of Transportation also reports that most pedestrian related accidents occur during the dark hours and at non-intersections, and urban areas are more dangerous for pedestrians than rural areas.
Safety Tips for Drivers
- Never drive impaired or distracted.
- Follow all speed laws, using extra caution during bad weather.
- Use extra caution and slower speeds in school zones and neighborhoods where children and pedestrians are present.
- Fully stop at all stop signs and traffic lights and look for pedestrians before proceeding.
- Use extra caution when backing out of driveways and leaving parking lots, especially going around corners.
- Be aware of pedestrians on the sidewalk and side of the road, talking extra precautions when passing.
- Watch designated sidewalks for pedestrians as you approach, never assume a pedestrian sees you.
- Be alert to pedestrians and possible unpredictable pedestrian behavior at all times.
Safety Tips for Pedestrians
- Cross streets at intersections and designated crosswalks only.
- Call for a ride if you’re intoxicated or ask a friend to walk home with you.
- Limit walking and jogging to daylight hours.
- Wear reflective clothing and carry a flashlight when walking in the dark.
- Stay on sidewalks and designated walking paths whenever possible.
- Avoid talking or texting on the phone, watching videos and other distractions while you’re walking.
- Refrain from using headphones or turn the volume down so you can hear traffic.
- Make eye contact with drivers at intersections before crossing, never assume they see you.
- Watch for cars backing out of driveways or leaving parking lots.
- When walking with children, hold their hand and walk with them on your right side, the furthest away from traffic.
- Stay alert and follow all pedestrian laws and street signs.
When to Contact an Attorney
If you or a loved on has been involved in a pedestrian accident, as a pedestrian or as a driver, a law firm like Kuzyk Law can help. In any pedestrian accident, there’s likely to be an investigation into who was at fault, the extent of injury and damages and other legal proceedings. Contact a trusted law firm for a case evaluation to discuss your options and rights.