The number of pedestrian accidents in the United States has been growing in past years. It is estimated that about 5,000 people are killed each year in pedestrian accidents. 2015 data from the Governors Highway Safety Association revealed how 23% of motor vehicle deaths in California were pedestrians, a number that was far higher than the national average.
Many pedestrian accidents occur in urban areas like crosswalks, sidewalks and on city streets. Since pedestrians have little protection to ward off collisions with a bike, car, or truck, accidents usually result in injuries like broken bones, head injuries, spinal cord trauma, or even death if the accident is on a major road.
The elderly and children are at an increased risk for being involved in a pedestrian accident. Dozens of young children are killed each year in “backover accidents”, where the size of some cars makes it difficult to see a small child while the car is moving in reverse.
Some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents include,
- Lack of Visibility: A significant amount of accidents occur between dusk and dawn, where factors like fog, smog, or rain can decrease visibility. Pedestrians who are walking in instances of low visibility without reflective equipment are also at risk to be involved in an accident.
- Alcohol or Drug Use: Drivers who drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol have a decreased ability to judge speed, depth, and distance, all of which drives up the chances of an accident. The Highway Loss Data Institute says drunk drivers were cited in 13% of pedestrian accidents.
- Technological Distractions: With the ever-expanding mobile technology industry, more and more pedestrians and drivers are distracted with cell phones and other electronic devices. Texting, listening to music, making calls, or surfing the internet can all lead to accidents if a person is not aware of their surroundings.
- Road Layouts: Left-hand turns can cause pedestrian accidents since the driver and pedestrian are usually looking in different directions. Additionally, arterial roads present an increased risk for an accident since they are often stopping points for buses or other vehicles.
- Quiet Cars: Newer hybrid cars or ones with battery-operated technology are usually quieter, and pedestrians might not be able to hear the vehicle coming around a curve or turning.
- Pedestrian Negligence: Safety features like crosswalks and walk signs are designed to keep drivers and pedestrians safe when they are used properly. Pedestrians put themselves and a driver at risk for an accident if they enter traffic without using a crosswalk, or quickly dart in front of cars without waiting for a walk signal.
If you or someone you love was involved in a pedestrian accident, the driver could be held liable for injuries. Consult with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident to protect your legal rights.