If you are going outside for an errand or a power walk, it’s typically assumed that you will return home unscathed. The chances, however, are decreasing that you will. Pedestrian fatalities are on the rise in the U.S. topping all other traffic deaths. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), from 2007-2016, pedestrian fatalities have increased 27% while all other traffic deaths decreased by 14%. Whether it’s the type of car involved in the accident, the speed the car is driving at, the color of clothing the pedestrian is wearing, if either party is impaired or distracted at the time of the accident, the outcome is usually severe.
Ultimately, the motorist is usually at least partially responsible. “When there is a vehicle and pedestrian accident, it is incumbent on the driver to be aware of everything around them and react, even if the pedestrian is somewhere they are not usually seen,” said, Thomas Davis, Partner and PI Attorney at SDG Law. “In recent months we have had three cases where pedestrians were seriously injured or killed,” he said. “Although they all happened at night, the drivers should all be held responsible for the injuries or deaths they caused.”
It’s unclear what exactly is causing this uptick in deaths and just how safe “walking” (or biking) really is (which is impossible to know without knowing where and how far/often people are walking/biking). The leading causes of pedestrian accidents include, impaired driving; talking or texting on a cell phone; inattentive or distracted driving; going through stop signs; driving recklessly through cross-walks and failing to follow traffic laws.
What can you do to reduce your involvement in a pedestrian accident?
As a pedestrian
- Look both ways before crossing the street
- Don’t jaywalk, cross at crosswalks
- Pay attention to stoplights and other signs on the streets
- Be alert
- If you have been drinking, avoid walking alone
- Wear bright colors when walking at night
- Always make use of sidewalks when available
As a motorist
- Refrain from looking at your mobile device
- Do not drive if you are impaired in any way
- Check your mirrors
- Drive the speed limit
- Signal when turning or switching lanes
- Always check your mirrors when backing up, in parking lots and when turning
- Yield at crosswalks
For more information on SDG Law’s personal injury practice, click here.
To read more about U.S. traffic death increases, click here.