We’re all pedestrians at some point: from young children to elders, there are times when we’re walking near some kind of moving traffic whether it’s a school parking lot or mall parking garage to a doctor’s office parking area or walking along roadways. Pedestrian Safety is especially important now, as a new school year begins and kids of all ages are going back to school for the new fall term.
“On average, a pedestrian was killed every two hours and injured every seven minutes in traffic crashes. Fourteen percent of all traffic fatalities and an estimated 3 percent of those injured in traffic crashes were pedestrians.” (Traffic Safety Facts: Pedestrians, April 2014)
Pedestrian Deaths in the United States Are Rising
For the past few years, the number of people dying in this country after suffering injuries in a pedestrian accident has been steadily increasing, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Last year, the NHTSA joined with the Federal Highway Administration to finance grants to US cities with the biggest dangers for pedestrians, and they also began publishing the Everyone is a Pedestrian website, to educate about the dangers for pedestrians in the United States today.
“Whether you live in a city or a small town, and whether you drive a car, take the bus or ride a train, at some point in the day, everyone is a pedestrian,” explained Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We all have a reason to support pedestrian safety, and now, everyone has new tools to help make a difference.”
It’s important for adults and children to be aware of the real dangers of traffic accidents causing serious injury or death to those that aren’t even in a vehicle at all, but are on foot.
Personal injury lawyers dealing with serious injuries in motor vehicle accidents recognize that those who are walking may not know the risks that they are facing in a traffic accident because they’re assuming that by walking, they are safer than someone in a vehicle. Sadly, that is sometimes not the case.
From the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) come the following statistics:
- Pedestrians ages 65 and older accounted for 19% of all pedestrian deaths and an estimated 11% of all pedestrians injured in 2010.
- In 2010, nearly one in every five children between the ages of 5 and 9 who were killed in traffic crashes was a pedestrian.
- Alcohol-impairment—either for the driver or for the pedestrian—was reported in 47% of the traffic crashes that resulted in pedestrian death.
- Of the pedestrians involved, 33% had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of greater than or equal to .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL).
- Higher vehicle speeds increase both the likelihood of a pedestrian being struck by a car and the severity of injury.
- Most pedestrian deaths occur in urban areas, non-intersection locations, and at night.
- Pedestrians should increase their visibility at night by carrying a flashlight when walking and by wearing retro-reflective clothing.
- Whenever possible, pedestrians should cross the street at a designated crosswalk.
- It is much safer to walk on a sidewalk, but if pedestrians must walk in the street, they should walk facing traffic.