Drivers should always pay attention to their surroundings and be aware of other vehicles, traffic signals and signs, and pedestrians. Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents continue to increase each year. This is confirmed from car accident lawyers who are helping more clients receive compensation for injuries received when struck as a pedestrian by a motor vehicle. Drivers should be aware of pedestrians to avoid very serious accidents.
Statistics Regarding Car-Pedestrian Accidents
The number of pedestrians walking on or near streets is increasing. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics from 2012, nearly 76,000 people nationwide were injured and 4,743 people killed in pedestrian-vehicle accidents.1 This is a six percent increase from 2011 numbers, reflecting a steady increase of pedestrian fatalities every year since 2008. The age group seeing the highest percentage of fatalities are those over 65 years old, making up twenty percent of all pedestrian fatalities.1 The attorneys who help clients injured in car-pedestrian accidents state that the greatest number of pedestrian fatalities occur in urban areas between intersections on clear days after dark.
Definition Of A Pedestrian
Drivers should look at pedestrian traffic and how it affects vehicle traffic as more than just people who walk on sidewalks. Experienced car accident attorneys report that pedestrians, as defined by the Texas Transportation Code, Rules of the Road, Definition,2 includes anyone on foot. This definition does not limit a pedestrian to someone walking on a sidewalk but also contemplates those who are walking, jogging, running, hiking, or even sitting or lying down on or near the roadway.
As reported by law firms that handle car accident injury claims for clients, 80% of car-pedestrian accidents do not happen near an intersection.3 Due to the sheer size and weight of automobiles in relation to pedestrians, these accidents often result in serious and traumatic injuries. This underscores the need for drivers to keep a proper lookout for pedestrians.
Avoiding Vehicle-Pedestrian Accidents
It is essential for drivers to be alert to the different types of pedestrians they may encounter, especially in areas with heavy foot-traffic. Some basic rules of the road when driving in these areas include:
Slow Down – In areas with heavy pedestrian traffic, including urban streets, schools, parks, and most residential areas, it is important to slow down. Be aware of slower posted speed limits in these areas and follow them, even if no pedestrians are in sight.
Be Alert – Pedestrians do unexpected things – especially children. Pedestrians may be distracted by cell phones or listening to music and unaware of the dangers surrounding them.
Pay Attention to Crosswalks – Drivers should wait for pedestrians to cross before continuing through an intersection and use extreme caution when passing a vehicle at a crosswalk since view of pedestrians could be blocked.
Be Very Cautious After Dark – Low-light conditions and bad weather reduce visibility for drivers and pedestrians. Drivers must be particularly alert for pedestrians when it is dark or visibility is reduced by weather conditions .
Car accident attorneys suggest that these few simple tips can keep pedestrians safe and help avoid pedestrian accidents. Drivers have a responsibility to keep a proper lookout for pedestrians and maintain control of their vehicle and avoid such accidents.