In 2013, 4,735 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the United States in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Another 156,000 were treated for injuries in emergency departments.
With little to protect them in an accident, pedestrians are the most vulnerable for injuries compared to anyone else on the road. Pedestrians are more than twice as likely than bicyclists to be hurt. Accident injuries can wreak havoc on people’s lives. They can suffer pain, permanent impairment, incapacity, permanent loss of an ability to perform and enjoy regular activities, substantial wage loss, or death.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a pedestrian-vehicle accident, it is important to seek the advice of a pedestrian accident lawyer. An experienced attorney can make sure you get the compensation you deserve for an accident caused by someone else’s negligence.
NHTSA Study Shows Common Risk Factors for Pedestrian Accidents
While anyone can be injured in a vehicle-pedestrian accident, certain groups are more vulnerable. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) studied pedestrian accidents in the United States in 2013 and noted these groups to be the most at risk:
- Children – Children often do not understand the dangers of traffic. Twenty percent of traffic crash fatalities involving kids younger than 14 were pedestrians.
- Adults 65 and older – Older adults move and react slower, which makes them less likely to move out of the way of an oncoming vehicle. This group made up 19% of pedestrian deaths and 10% of injuries in the study.
- Impaired pedestrians – Alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs impair judgement, which increases the likelihood that impaired pedestrians are involved in accidents. In fatal accidents involving alcohol, the pedestrian had at least a 0.08 blood alcohol concentration 34% of the time.
The NHTSA study also revealed the places and times pedestrian accidents occur most often:
- 73% of accidents occurred in urban areas.
- 69% happened at a non-intersection.
- 72% occurred when it was dark outside.
- In fall and winter, most pedestrian accidents occurred between 6-9 p.m.
- In spring and summer, most pedestrian accidents occurred between 9 p.m. and midnight.
7 Steps to Safer Walking Habits
Pedestrians should always be alert and aware of their surroundings as they travel and keep an eye on the people they are with, especially children. Add the tips below to your everyday routine for safer traveling by foot:
- Follow the law – Walk on sidewalks and paths when possible. If no sidewalks are available, walk on the shoulder of the road facing oncoming traffic.
- Help drivers see you – Wear reflective clothing at night, which you can typically find at stores that carry gear for runners and hikers. When walking your dog, add a reflective vest or light-up-collar.
- Cross wisely – Use intersections to cross the street whenever possible and wait for the walk signal, if there is one. Look for traffic from both directions of the street, then check for cars that might be turning onto the street you want to cross.
- Watch your step – For older Americans, falling while crossing the street causes injuries. Keep an eye out for curbs, cracks in pavement, and slippery surfaces.
- Keep your head up – Accidents from distracted walking continue to increase. Hold off on texting, posting, or taking photos or video until you are away from moving vehicles.
- Stay safe beyond the streets – It’s important to stay alert wherever you find moving vehicles, including parking lots, driveways, and garages.
- Set your children up to succeed – When walking with children, scan the area ahead to prepare for any hazards. When your child is old enough to understand, point out possible dangers and talk through how to navigate them safely.
At the Law Office of Gregory E. Price, we have handled pedestrian accident claims in Oregon and Washington for 30 years. For a free consultation with an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer, call us at (360) 828-5879, or fill out our Contact Us form. We will be happy to talk to you about the specific details of your case and answer any questions you may have.