There are several factors that may put pedestrians at risk, including when they are walking in urban areas, after dark, and/or crossing the street at an intersection. Accidents involving pedestrians are also more likely to happen when a pedestrian and/or driver of a vehicle is distracted or impaired in some way. The age of the pedestrian may also play a role.
In 2018, 6,283 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle accidents, which represents the highest number of pedestrian deaths since 1990, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2017, 607 pedestrians were killed in Texas motor vehicle accidents, making up a staggering 16.3% of all motor vehicle accidents in the state.
What other factors put pedestrians most at risk? And what should you do if you are injured? Below, we identify the major risk factors associated with higher pedestrian deaths.
Approximately 47% of motor vehicle accidents that resulted in a pedestrian death in 2017 involved alcohol impairment of either the pedestrian or the driver, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC further states that 33% of fatal pedestrian motor vehicle accidents involved a pedestrian with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more.
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The Governors Highway Safety Association opined in its “Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State” report that another possible factor that may have contributed to the recent increase in pedestrian fatalities is the rise in smartphone use over the last decade, which may distract pedestrians as well as motorists. Even if pedestrians are not engaging in the dangerous behavior of texting while walking, they may still be distracted by other sources, such as talking on the phone while walking, listening to music, or following GPS directions. Drivers who are engaging in similar behaviors may place pedestrians at greater risk.
The NHTSA reports that approximately 80% of pedestrian fatalities in 2017 occurred in urban areas, compared to 20% that occurred in rural areas.
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The NHTSA reports that 75% of pedestrian fatalities in 2017 occurred in the dark, compared to 21% that occurred during daylight hours. These fatalities could be attributed to factors such as:
- Poor visibility
- Not keeping a lookout for pedestrians
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About 73% of pedestrian fatalities did not occur at intersections while 18% did occur at intersections in 2017. Fatal accidents were also more likely to occur in areas with higher speeds.
Day of Week
Pedestrian fatality rates also jump during the weekend, especially during nighttime hours. This could be due to more pedestrians on the street, coupled with impaired or distracted drivers.
The age of the pedestrian also seemed to play a part in pedestrian motor vehicle accidents. Older and younger pedestrians seemed to be at greatest risk, based on the following statistics from the NHTSA:
- 55 to 59-year-old pedestrians make up the largest number of traffic fatalities at 618 for 2017
- 50 to 54-year-old pedestrians make up the second largest number of traffic fatalities at 572 for 2017
- These age groups make up the highest percentages of pedestrian fatalities at 21% each in 2017
- Of the children 14 and younger who died in 2017 motor vehicle accidents, 19% of them were pedestrians
How Drivers Can Avoid Pedestrian Accidents
While drivers and pedestrians on the same road can be a dangerous combination, the fact is that drivers have the responsibility to safely drive in a way that avoids injury to anyone else on the roadway, including pedestrians. There are many ways in which drivers can prevent accidents with pedestrians, including:
- Keeping a lookout for pedestrians in crosswalks, on shoulders, and in other areas, especially during nighttime hours when it may be more difficult to spot them
- Stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks and at intersections
- Not passing vehicles stopped before a crosswalk
- Reducing their speed in areas where pedestrians may be present
- Being particularly careful when turning at or entering a crosswalk
- Avoiding driving after they have consumed any alcohol or drugs
- Driving at safe speeds
- Avoiding distractions
Unfortunately, many drivers do not take their responsibility to drive safely seriously. This lack of regard for others can result in serious motor vehicle accidents with pedestrians that can cause severe injuries or even death.
If a motorist is negligent and harms a pedestrian, the pedestrian may be entitled to compensation for the damages he or she sustained, such as:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity if the victim is unable to return to any work or the same line of work
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
Injured pedestrians can discuss their potential damages and their legal rights with a personal injury lawyer.
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Now that you know what pedestrians are most at risk, you can find out what these risk factors may mean for your pedestrian injury claim. The team from Loncar Lyon Jenkins can answer any questions you have about filing a claim and whether another person’s behavior rises to the level to make them legally liable for the damages you sustained. Start the process by contacting us today at 800-777-7777. Your initial consultation is free, and you pay nothing for our services unless we recover compensation on your behalf.