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As NPR reports, the Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) says that pedestrian fatalities have reached a 25-year high for two years in a row. In 2017, over 6,000 people were killed in car accidents while walking.
Pedestrian Deaths Reach 25-Year High for Two Consecutive Years
While other kinds of traffic-related deaths have declined over the years, the number of pedestrian deaths has increased considerably. Between 2007 and 2016, for example, pedestrian deaths jumped by 27 percent. During the same time period, other types of traffic fatalities declined by 14 percent.
Additionally, pedestrian deaths are higher in some states than others. Together, California, Florida, Texas, New York, and Arizona accounted for 43 percent of all pedestrian fatalities in the country for the first half of 2017.
If you have been hurt in a pedestrian accident, or if you have lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident, protect your rights by reviewing your case with an experienced attorney. Speak to a New York City pedestrian accident attorney today to discuss your legal options.
Why Have Pedestrian Fatalities Increased?
Experts say there are a number of possible reasons for the increase in pedestrian deaths. Vehicle speed and drunk driving remain the leading causes of pedestrian deaths. According to the GHSA report, 33 percent of pedestrian deaths involve a motorist with a blood alcohol content over the legal limit. However, distracted driving is also a leading factor in the sharp rise in pedestrian fatalities. As smartphones have become more widespread, a growing number of motorists use them behind the wheel despite laws prohibiting such conduct. Additionally, pedestrians themselves may be more distracted while walking. Listening to music, reading emails, or texting while walking can increase a pedestrian’s risk of being involved in a car accident. Also, the majority of pedestrian deaths occur during nighttime, with 72 percent of all pedestrian fatalities happening after dark.
Statistics About Pedestrian Accidents
Another report looked at pedestrian fatality data between 2005 and 2014. According to the report, cities have higher rates of pedestrian deaths, as they are more congested and more likely to have a heavy mix of vehicle and pedestrian traffic. The report also showed that 13 pedestrian deaths occurred on average each day between 2005 and 2014.
The report also pointed out that people of color are more likely to be killed as a pedestrian. For example, in North Dakota, Native Americans make up just five percent of the population but account for 38 percent of all pedestrian fatalities. Among non-whites, pedestrian fatality rates were 46.1 percent despite non-whites making up 34.9 percent of the total U.S. population. Additionally, older people are more likely to be killed while walking. In the same study, people over age 65 were 50 percent more likely to be killed as a pedestrian.
How to Minimize the Risk of a Pedestrian Accident
Both motorists and pedestrians can take steps to decrease their risk of being involved in a pedestrian accident. If you’re getting behind the wheel, you should be on the lookout for pedestrians and maintain situational awareness at all times.
For motorists, tips to reduce pedestrian accidents include:
- Always be alert while driving
- Follow the posted speed limit
- Check sidewalks and the side of the road before making a turn or entering an intersection
- Give pedestrians extra time to cross the street
- Always follow the rules for school buses and crosswalks
- Never drive under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or a substance that could impair your ability to drive
- Observe traffic laws and signs
- Don’t use your phone while you’re driving
- Keep distractions inside your vehicle to a minimum
For pedestrians, safety tips to avoid a pedestrian accident include:
- Only cross the street at designated pedestrian crosswalks
- Don’t assume that motorists see you
- Avoid walking at night if possible
- Always wear reflective clothing, even if you’re walking during the day
- Don’t walk distracted
As a pedestrian, you can’t always assume that motorists see you. Distracted drivers may enter a crosswalk or make a turn without paying attention to the road. You can increase your chances of avoiding being hit by a car if you pay close attention to your surroundings at all times.
Additionally, don’t assume that motorists will stop just because they approach a crosswalk or sign. Always pay attention to cars, and never take for granted that they will follow traffic laws or signs. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to traveling by foot.
Pedestrian accidents can be hotly disputed legal cases. Motorists frequently try to blame the pedestrian for causing the accident in whole or in part. Trying to handle a serious pedestrian accident claim on your own or without the help of an experienced New York pedestrian accident lawyer could jeopardize your ability to be fairly compensated for your pedestrian accident. To get the justice you deserve, contact Jonathan C. Reiter Law Firm, PLLC at 212-736-0979 today.
Prior results cannot and do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future case. Recoveries always depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case, the injuries suffered, damages incurred, and the responsibility of those involved