On average, drivers strike and kill 20 pedestrians per day in the United States, according to the most recent annual data from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Meanwhile, some evidence suggests pedestrians are more likely to die in accidents involving heavy vehicles, i.e., those weighing over 4,000 lbs. With a clear understanding of the root causes of pedestrian deaths, drivers can take the appropriate measures to guard against them.
Dangerous Driving Is a Key Factor in the Rise of Pedestrian Deaths
More pedestrian lives than ever before are being taken due to dangerous driving, says GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. To make sure people can walk safely, Adkins notes it is important to address the leading contributors to the pedestrian safety crisis. These include:
- Speeding and other forms of dangerous driving
- Inadequate infrastructure
- Roads created for speed, not safety
Ultimately, pedestrian deaths totaled 7,485 in the most recent annual data provided by GHSA. This represented a 40-year high and a 12% year-over-year increase. One of the biggest reasons why the number of pedestrian deaths nationally is rising is accidents involving large cars.
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A Closer Look at the Relationship Between Large-Car Accidents and Increasing Pedestrian Deaths
Research indicates the number of large-car sales and single-vehicle pedestrian crash deaths has increased at comparable rates on a yearly basis dating back to 2009. SUVs and other large cars have become exceedingly popular during this period. On the other hand, pedestrians are twice or three times more likely to die if they get struck by an SUV or other large cars than average-sized passenger vehicles.
U.S. lawmakers can minimize the risk of large-car accidents and pedestrian deaths. To do so, they can:
- Propose and pass regulations designed to improve the safety of large cars.
- Collect, analyze, and share data highlighting the dangers of large-car accidents and their impact on pedestrian fatality rates.
- Develop and implement new pedestrian safety laws.
Drivers must also do their part to prevent pedestrian accidents. If drivers take appropriate precautions, they are well-equipped to prevent these accidents. In addition, they can reduce the number of pedestrian deaths in the United States and keep the roads safe.
Pedestrian Safety Tips You Need to Know
Motorists always bear the greater burden of obeying traffic laws that keep pedestrians safe. No matter how a pedestrian may behave, the person driving a vehicle is often most at fault. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides the following tips to avoid pedestrian accidents:
Keep an Eye Out for Pedestrians at All Times
You never know when a pedestrian will approach a car. As a motorist, it is your responsibility to look for pedestrians. Watch the road and avoid distractions, and you can reduce your risk of a pedestrian accident.
Consider the Road and Weather Conditions
Potholes and other road hazards can make it difficult to drive safely. Meanwhile, heavy rain and other harsh weather conditions also impact driving conditions. If you drive slowly and carefully when faced with risky road and weather conditions, you may be able to avoid a pedestrian accident.
Watch for Pedestrians in Crosswalks
If you see a crosswalk, slow down and be prepared to stop. Crosswalks are in place so pedestrians can move from one side of the street to the other without putting their health in danger. By planning ahead for crosswalks, you can give yourself sufficient time to stop and let a pedestrian cross.
Do Not Pass a Vehicle that Is Already Stopped at a Crosswalk
When a vehicle is stopped at a crosswalk, do not pass it. If you do, you risk striking a pedestrian in the crosswalk. If you approach a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk, wait behind it, let the pedestrian cross, and continue to drive.
Do Not Drive Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
It is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. To avoid a pedestrian accident, drunk driving charge, or other potential harm, you should never operate a vehicle if you have consumed an excessive amount of drugs or alcohol. When you doubt your ability to drive safely, find someone else to drive you where you need to go.
Follow the Speed Limit
If there is a posted speed limit, follow it. Driving at high speeds increases your risk of a pedestrian accident. Fortunately, if you comply with the speed limit, you can travel safely, avoid pedestrian accidents, and minimize the risk of getting pulled over by the police.
Proceed with Caution When Backing Up
As you back up your vehicle, look around for pedestrians. Do so as many times as you deem necessary before you feel comfortable. If you see a pedestrian as you are backing up, stop your vehicle and let this individual pass.
It pays to know what to do if you are driving near pedestrians. Of course, those injured in pedestrian accidents must also respond accordingly. If you know what to do after a pedestrian accident, you can hold any at-fault parties responsible.
How to Respond if You Are Involved in a Pedestrian Accident
If a motorist injures you as a pedestrian, do not wait to seek medical help. Call 911 at the accident scene. From here, police and medical professionals will arrive to help you and anyone else involved in the incident.
Following a pedestrian accident, the driver responsible for the incident can be held accountable for damages. To pursue compensation from this individual or anyone else, you will need to hire a personal injury attorney. Choose an experienced lawyer to review your case and help you request the maximum amount of damages possible.
Once your attorney files your personal injury lawsuit, you may be able to secure tens of thousands of dollars in damages. Your lawyer will serve as your legal representation for the duration of your case. During this time, your attorney will do everything in their power to help you settle your case and get the damages you deserve.
Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer to Help You with Your Pedestrian Accident Case
John Foy & Associates has many years of experience with pedestrian accident lawsuits. We can assess your pedestrian accident case and help you sue any at-fault parties. To learn more or request a free consultation, please contact us today.