An accident between a vehicle and a pedestrian is always worse for the pedestrian. A pedestrian could suffer broken bones, a traumatic brain injury, internal organ damage or injury to the spinal cord. Despite increases in safety efforts and awareness campaigns, the rate of pedestrian accidents is growing. Preliminary data from 2018 shows the highest number of pedestrian deaths since 1990 (6,227 pedestrians killed) nationwide. Pedestrian accidents, injuries and deaths are most common in the summer months.
Warm Weather Means More People
The simplest solution as to why more pedestrians end up in summertime accidents is because more people are out and about. Dallas is a great city for tourists, sightseers and pedestrians. In the balmy summer months, more people enjoy the weather by taking a stroll around town or walking to work. The number of vehicles on the roads also increases, as more people enjoy their days off with kids around the city.
In 2017, 614 pedestrians died in traffic accidents in the state of Texas. July was the deadliest month for all traffic accidents in Texas, with 352 deaths. It is no coincidence that more people died in fatal car accidents in July than any other month of the year in Texas. The streets are bustling in July, with thousands of people pouring into the city for their summer vacations. The days are longer as well, with the sun inviting people to stay out longer. An increase in both pedestrians and vehicles translates into an increase in pedestrian accidents.
Drunk and Distracted Drivers
Summer is a time for barbecues, get-togethers, parties and festivals. Unfortunately, this can mean an increase in drunk and reckless drivers in Dallas. The Texas Department of Transportation reported 1,024 traffic deaths involving drunk drivers in 2017. More deaths occurred between 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning on Sunday than any other time or day. Drunk drivers may cause late-night fatal accidents when returning home intoxicated from summertime gatherings. These fatal accidents could involve pedestrians.
Distracted driving can also increase during the summer. Summertime drivers may be new to the city and staring at their maps or GPS systems while trying to get around. They may be looking at their phones as they communicate with people they are going to meet, or scrolling through social media while stopped in slow traffic on I-35. Distracted drivers can easily miss pedestrians crossing the street and fail to yield the right-of-way. This could lead to serious pedestrian accidents.
Drivers are not the only parties to blame for pedestrian accidents in Dallas. Distracted walking is a real risk for pedestrians. The National Safety Council (NSC) recommends putting the phone down when walking or jogging. The NSC says teenagers are at the greatest risk of getting into distracted walking accidents. It notes a shift in risk for pedestrian accidents from 1995 to today. In 1995, children ages five to nine were most at risk. Today, teenagers are more at risk, largely because of cellphone use while walking.
Smartphone use while walking means a pedestrian is looking down instead of up at his or her surroundings. This could lead to a pedestrian stepping off the curb in front of an oncoming vehicle or using a crosswalk when he or she does not have the right-of-way. Failure to pay attention to one’s surroundings could lead to fault for a pedestrian accident, even if the pedestrian suffered the most serious injuries. A distracted pedestrian may be unable to recover financial compensation for his or her injuries after a harmful collision.
Summer means more kids and teens walking around Dallas than at any other time of the year. Combined with the likelihood of using smartphones while walking, this can lead to an increase in pedestrian accidents from June to September. Pedestrians can improve their safety over summer by putting their phones down, paying attention to what is around them and obeying all roadway rules. Drivers can help prevent accidents by avoiding distracted, drunk and negligent driving.