When we hear the phrase “car accident” we typically think of accidents involving 2 or more motor vehicles, but that isn’t always the case. Many car accidents, especially fatal ones, involve pedestrians and motor vehicles. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association’s Spotlight on Highway Safety study, pedestrian traffic fatalities have risen about 11% between 2015 and 2016. With the educated projections, the Governors Highway Safety Association estimates 2016 could be the first year in over 2 decades to surpass 6,000 recorded pedestrian deaths.
According to the report, the rise in fatalities is likely due to the healthier economy, an increased number of people walking as a primary mode of transportation, and distraction because of smartphone use. These three factors, along with many others, are leading to the highest number in pedestrian fatalities since 1997.
Certain pedestrian actions put them at a higher risk of being involved in a car accident, such as crossing the street in an area other than the crosswalk. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests that pedestrians who cross outside of designated intersections are at a higher risk than those who use labeled crossing areas. The Governors Highway Safety Association states that a staggering 82% of all pedestrian traffic fatalities occur outside of designated intersections. Pedestrians are also at a higher risk at night or when it is otherwise dark outside, and in urban areas where traffic is more abundant.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that alcohol is often a factor in pedestrian fatalities. Roughly 49% of the traffic accidents that resulted in pedestrian death involved alcohol consumption by either the pedestrian or the driver.
In an effort to curb pedestrian accidents and significantly lower the number of fatalities, state members have taken action to provide possible preventative methods. Some of the most popular proposals included providing drivers and pedestrians with better visibility, raising public information campaigns for pedestrian danger in traffic accidents, and identifying particularly risky areas that need improvement.
In order to keep the percentage of pedestrian fatalities in traffic accidents from rising higher still in 2017, both motorists and pedestrians must do their part to be safe. Pedestrians: always use designated crosswalks when crossing the street, and remain on sidewalks when at all possible. As a driver, always be aware of pedestrians and enter crosswalks slowly and cautiously, even if you have a green light. Being a more mindful pedestrian and a cautions driver can prevent you from being involved in a pedestrian car accident.
To read more about the Governors Highway Safety Association Pedestrian Fatalities report, click here.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a pedestrian car accident, you may have a personal injury case. Please contact Todd Miner Law for a free consultation.