People are walking and jogging more for their health and to get around cities where public transportation is readily available. While walking is definitely good for our health, it can also lead to tragic pedestrian accidents. These accidents can cause pedestrians to suffer catastrophic injuries or death since they have absolutely no protection between themselves and the vehicle striking them. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,375 pedestrians were killed and 66,000 were injured in traffic accidents in 2013.
Who Is Most at Risk of Becoming Involved in a Pedestrian Accident?
While any pedestrian is in danger of being hit by a vehicle, certain groups of people are at higher risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the following are most at risk:
- Male pedestrians are more likely to be injured in these accidents than women.
- Teenagers and young adults between the ages of 15 and 29 years old are more likely to be treated for injuries as a pedestrian in emergency rooms in comparison to any other age group.
- As people age, they are more likely to die from injuries caused in a pedestrian accident.
- Thirty-four percent of pedestrians who died as a result of a pedestrian crash had a .08 percent blood alcohol concentration or higher.
- Children are at higher risk of dying if hit as a pedestrian. One in five traffic fatalities of children who were 14 years old or younger was caused by this type of crash.
Seven Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Motorists must obey traffic laws and exercise reasonable care—especially in watching out for pedestrians who are less visible. When drivers fail to obey traffic signs, tragic crashes often occur. Common ways driver negligence causes accidents include:
- Distracted driving. When drivers are talking on a cell phone, texting, eating and drinking, or engaging in other types of distracted driving, their minds and eyes are not on driving. An unsuspecting pedestrian who has right of way could dart out in front of them in a few split seconds.
- Speeding. Speeding is not only a violation of traffic laws, but it can also be considered reckless driving. Pedestrians hit by speeding vehicles can suffer even more life-altering injuries or die due to the force of the impact.
- Intoxicated driving. Whenever a driver is intoxicated—either through the consumption of alcohol or drugs—his reaction times, reasoning, and general driving skills are impaired. He can easily miss seeing a pedestrian, especially in poor weather or at night.
- Failing to stop or yield. Drivers who roll through a stop sign or an intersection or who fail to yield to the pedestrian who has the right of way are a common cause of these devastating crashes.
- Weather conditions. When drivers fail to slow down to a safe speed in fog, rain, ice, or snow, they can easily fail to see a pedestrian or be unable to stop or slow down in time on slick or slippery roadways.
- Left-hand turns. Even when using crosswalks, pedestrians risk being hit by vehicles turning left when the driver’s attention is on navigating the intersection instead of the pedestrian legally crossing the street.
- Backing-up accidents. Some of the most tragic accidents can happen at people’s homes when they back up their vehicles over a child they cannot see. Pedestrians are also at risk of being hit by a vehicle backing up while in parking lots—especially when there is a lot of traffic.
Unfortunately, not only negligent drivers cause pedestrian crashes. Intoxicated pedestrians can cause or contribute to their own injuries. In addition, pedestrians causing accidents by being engaged in distracted walking, such as talking on their cell phones and texting, are becoming more prevalent. The problem is large enough that for the first time the National Safety Council listed cell phone distracted walking as a category in its report on their unintentional injuries and deaths.
Were you injured in a pedestrian accident? Was a family member killed? The car accident attorneys at Brauns Law are here to help. We urge you to start an online chat or call us toll free at 877-401-6689 to schedule a free evaluation of your case.