Pedestrian injuries are still unfortunately common occurrences. In recent years, public health authorities have attempted to control the amount of pedestrian death and injury by creating more walkable urban centers, installing more crosswalks in busy areas, and doing other things to reduce the risk of accidents. However, pedestrian accidents still can and do occur daily. In fact, a recent Governor’s Highway Safety Association found that pedestrian deaths increased by 11% between 2015 and 2016. What causes these devastating occurrences? Here’s what you need to know.
Most pedestrian accidents occur at intersections. Crosswalks can help reduce the risk of being in a pedestrian accident, but unfortunately not all crosswalks have markings. Pedestrians have the right of way when crossing at an intersection, but many people fail to recognize this. Statistically, pedestrian accidents at crosswalks are more likely to occur in the summer months when people are out and about. Designating lines at crosswalks and installing appropriate traffic signals is a simple and effective way to control this type of accident.
DUIs are serious offenses, and ones for which the state does not have much tolerance. Conviction of a DUI can lead to license revocation and suspension, fines, court costs, community service, and more. Unfortunately, not everyone pays attention to the rules. Drivers who operate under the influence of drugs and alcohol pose a danger to themselves and others on the road, and to pedestrians. Because of delayed reaction times and sloppy judgement, pedestrian accidents involving drunk drivers are often fatal.
Texting and cell phone use while driving are nearly as dangerous as drunk driving. Motorists can plow into pedestrians because they’re too busy operating a navigation system, sending a text, or perusing Facebook to pay attention to their surroundings. Accidents due to driver inattention lead to pedestrian injuries and deaths each year.
Most pedestrian accidents occur at intersections, but they’re slightly more likely to occur when a driver is making a left hand turn at a crosswalk. The reasoning behind this is that a driver and a pedestrian are more likely to be looking in opposite directions while making their commute.
Certain conditions like rain can decrease visibility and make it more difficult for drivers to see clearly. As a result, they may not be able to see a pedestrian before it’s too late. Though inclement weather may play a role in pedestrian accidents, drivers must also know how to drive in ambient weather conditions and make adjustments as necessary. As such, a driver who hits a pedestrian in an accident will likely still be liable for his or her injuries.
Finally, so-called ‘arterial roadways’ can make a pedestrian accident more likely. These roads help improve traffic flow on and off freeways, but they serve particular dangers to pedestrians. Many pedestrian accidents occur on these roadways, especially since bus stops are often nearby. When drivers are still driving in “highway mode,” they’re less likely to notice pedestrians, which can lead to high-speed accidents. Unfortunately, arterial roadway accidents often prove fatal to the pedestrian.
Pedestrian injuries may occur in any number of scenarios, but some urban setups and driver behaviors make them more likely. Unmarked crosswalks and arterial roadways pose a particular danger to pedestrians, as do dangerous behaviors like electronic device use, driving under the influence, and general inattention. By avoiding some of the most common scenarios leading to pedestrian accidents, walkers can reduce their risk of injury. By understanding the risks involved with driver inattention and negligence, motorists can similarly take steps to reduce the risk their behavior has on others.