It is hard to imagine something more innocent than a child walking to school, or friends walking to the shop, and it definitely does not seem dangerous. But statistics show that choosing to simply be a pedestrian in a city might be filled with more risks than most people think.
According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, the number of pedestrians killed in 2015 jumped 10 percent from the year before. Comparing the first six months of the two years, in 2015 the total number of pedestrian deaths was 2,368, compared to 2,232 in the same period in 2014.
IIHSHLDI reports that, according to their estimates, roughly 65,000 pedestrians were injured in accidents in 2014, and the accidents occurred mostly in urban areas. They report that 72 percent of all pedestrian injuries occur on major roadways, while 26 percent of deaths occur at intersections, and 12 percent off the roadway in parking lots and similar areas.
The CDC reports that those most in danger of pedestrian fatalities include:
- Older adults Pedestrians aged 65 and older accounted for 19% of all pedestrian deaths and an estimated 10% of all pedestrians injured in 2013.
- Children In 2013, one in every five children under the age of 14 who were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians.
- Drivers and pedestrians who are alcohol-impaired Alcohol involvement for the driver or the pedestrian was reported for 49% of the traffic crashes that resulted in pedestrian death.
The jump in deaths is the result of several issues. One is that, as the economy improved, gas was cheaper and as a result more people were driving, which resulted in more crashes. Another major factor, though, was the increase in distracted driving.
Distracted driving is defined as any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. AAA estimates that distracted driving accounts for up to 50 percent of all driving accidents. The distractions include: texting, cell phone use, eating, adjusting a radio and many more.
One of the largest causes of distracted driving is cell phone use, and especially text messages. A study cited by Distraction.gov suggests that the average text takes the eyes away from the road for an average of five seconds, which in a vehicle going 55 mph means the car will travel the distance of a football field.
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center has several recommendations that may increase safety for pedestrians and bike riders, as well. They first suggest being visible to drivers, especially by wearing bright colors, carrying flashlights, and crossing at well-lit areas when walking at night.
They also suggest:
- Always walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic.
- Stay sober; walking while impaired increases your chance of being struck.
- Don’t assume vehicles will stop. Make eye contact with drivers, don’t just look at the vehicle. If a driver is on a cell phone, he or she may not be paying enough attention to drive safely.
- Don’t rely solely on pedestrian signals. Look before you cross the road.
- Be alert to engine noise or backup lights on cars when in parking lots and near on-street parking spaces.
The legal ramifications for vehicle accidents involving pedestrians depends on the situation. Much like other car accidents, fault and liability depend on exactly what happened. After seeking medical care in an accident, it is a good idea to contact an attorney to find out what the legal ramifications are.
Neale & Fhima has over 40 years of legal experience and are proud to have helped thousands of people in Orange County and all of Southern California receive the compensation they deserve. With a 99 percent success rate in all cases, Neale & Fhima are proud to help you fight for the compensation you deserve.