With cooler weather upon us, more and more people are going outside for a walk. Whether you are walking for exercise, as a means of socializing with friends and family, or because you are headed to a destination, you should be aware of your personal safety as you walk about. Pedestrian accidents are a very real problem. Did you know a pedestrian dies in a car or truck crash every 1.6 hours in the United States? Further, in the next 24 hours, approximately 430 people will receive treatment in an emergency room for traffic related pedestrian injuries.
In 2015 alone, 5,376 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes, and nearly 129,000 pedestrians were treated for non-fatal crash related injuries in emergency rooms around the country.
Older Americans are at the Highest Risk for Pedestrian Accidents
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults age 65 and older are at the highest risk for pedestrian crashes. They account for 19% of all pedestrian deaths. Additionally, older Americans sustained 13% of all pedestrian injuries in 2015.
Risk Factors for Pedestrian Accidents
Almost half of all pedestrian accidents that resulted in the death of the pedestrian involved alcohol. In nearly 1 in 3 fatal crashes, the pedestrian had a blood alcohol concentration exceeding .08 (the legal limit). Drivers were found to be at or above the legal limit in 15% of these pedestrian accident fatalities.
Another risk factor for pedestrian accidents is the speed of the driver of the motor vehicle. Higher speeds result in a greater likelihood a pedestrian may be struck by a car. Additionally, the greater speed contributes to the increased severity of injury in pedestrian accidents.
Finally, pedestrian accidents are most common under the following conditions:
- In urban areas
- In locations other than at intersections
- During the nighttime hours
Ways Pedestrians Can Help Prevent Injuries and Deaths
According to the CDC, there are things pedestrians can do to actively reduce their likelihood of being involved in a pedestrian accident. These proactive steps include:
- Be mindful of distractions or potential distractions, such as cell phones, other electronic devices, and conversations with companions
- Wear retro-reflective clothing when walking at dusk or at night
- Carry and use a flashlight, even when there are streetlights, to make yourself more visible
- When a crosswalk is available, use it
- When a crosswalk is not available, cross at the intersection, rather than in the middle of the block
- Use the sidewalk, when one is available
- When no sidewalk is available, walk on the shoulder as far from the roadway as possible
- When you are walking along a roadway instead of on the sidewalk, walk facing traffic, not with it
If You Are Injured as a Pedestrian
As a pedestrian, your personal safety is the priority. Take the time to assess whether you have any injuries that require medical attention. If you can, gather the names of witnesses, as well as the name of the driver. If you have a cell phone, take a picture of the scene if you are able. However, if you need immediate medical attention, focus your energy on that. Your health and well-being are most important.
You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries if you have been in a pedestrian accident. Our pedestrian accident attorneys are happy to meet with you to discuss your situation. At Miller Weber Kory, LLP, there is never any fee unless we win your case. Call us today at 602-648-4045.