While living somewhere walkable is an ideal scenario for most people, the reality is that many areas prioritize cars over pedestrians. This means that pedestrians often find themselves exposed to dangerous situations on or alongside roads, with automobiles whipping past.
Such circumstances are ripe for accidents, and pedestrian death and injury in high-traffic areas is extremely common. According to the CDC, in 2017, nearly 6,000 Americans were killed in traffic, totaling roughly one death every hour and a half. Some 137,000 pedestrians also received treatment for non-fatal injuries from auto accidents in emergency rooms across the country.
These statistics tell a story about how dangerous our roads can be for a pedestrian. Pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than drivers or passengers to be killed in an auto accident, but why and how is this the case? Let’s look closer at some of the main causes of pedestrian accidents and pedestrian accident injuries.
What are the main causes of pedestrian accidents?
1) Alcohol: Intoxication plays a major role in pedestrian incidents, on both the driver and pedestrian side. By hampering judgement, reaction time, and spatial awareness, especially in drivers, alcohol can quickly increase the likelihood of an accident. About half of all pedestrian deaths involve alcohol for one of the involved parties. This can be further broken down between pedestrians and drivers. 33% of fatal crashes involve an intoxicated pedestrian, and 17% involve an intoxicated driver.
2) Age: Those most likely to be killed as pedestrians are senior citizens and those under the age of 18. One in five pedestrian deaths involve someone over the age of 65. Additionally, 20% of all children (younger than 15) killed in auto accidents were pedestrians. As with alcohol, youth and old age diminishes key pedestrian safety factors like awareness, increasing the likelihood of a pedestrian accident injury or fatality.
3) Speed: Impact speed is another factor, and can mean the difference between a nonfatal pedestrian accident injury and a pedestrian fatality. According to a report from the California Office of Traffic Safety, pedestrians hit by a car travelling 20 MPH have a 10% death risk, which increases sharply with collision speed, to 40% (30 MPH) and 80% (40 MPH). These numbers show the life-or-death difference that slowing down can make, which is why speeding is such a dangerous practice for drivers.
4) Distracted Driving: From phone calls to texting, eating, and GPS, there are more distractions than ever coming from inside our cars. The CDC reports that about eight people are killed every day in crashes that involve a distracted driver, and 20% of these people are pedestrians. The need to be aware of your surroundings, as a driver or pedestrian, and to stay off your smartphone while on or near the road, is paramount to pedestrian safety.
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If you have suffered a pedestrian accident injury, have a question about pedestrian accident liability, or need help filing a pedestrian accident claim, Super Woman Super Lawyer Maryam Parman is your partner in justice. Together with her firm Avrek Law, Maryam Parman has recovered over $1 Billion for clients across over 45,000 cases. Call 800.800.6916 and get a free case evaluation today!