Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents remain one of the most common causes of death and injury among vulnerable road users. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, pedestrian deaths have increased by 18%. This equates to 519 additional lives lost. Nationally, there were 1.04 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people in 2022, up significantly from 0.90 in 2019.
The increase in pedestrian fatalities on U.S. roads can be attributed to various factors, including a rise in reckless driving since the start of the pandemic that has yet to subside, streets that prioritize high-speed traffic over pedestrian safety, pedestrian ignorance and recklessness, driver ignorance and recklessness, and insufficient infrastructure such as poorly lit areas, crosswalks, and sidewalks in many regions of the country.
What Causes a Pedestrian Accident?
Pedestrian accidents occur for various reasons. Common causes of pedestrian accidents include, but are not limited to:
Cell phones, radios, and other electronic devices can distract drivers from driving safely.
Drivers speeding are less likely to see pedestrians in time to avoid an accident. Speeding also increases the intensity of an impact if an accident does occur. Obeying traffic laws is vital to protecting pedestrians and drivers alike and avoiding traffic crashes.
Driving under the influence (DUI)
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can impair the driver’s ability to react quickly, see clearly, and make good decisions.
Failure to yield
Drivers must yield to pedestrians when turning left or right at intersections and other areas where pedestrians have the right-of-way.
A rise in reckless driving from the pandemic
The pandemic has caused an increase in reckless driving due to people being more comfortable breaking the law with less police presence on the road.
Unfortunately, most fatal pedestrian accidents often occur due to the pedestrian being hit by a vehicle. Pedestrian deaths occur all too often when drivers fail to follow the rules of the road.
Jaywalking occurs when a pedestrian crosses the street in an unauthorized area or fails to yield to traffic. Pedestrians walking in areas without crosswalks or signals are particularly vulnerable to vehicle impacts.
Working or playing on the road
Pedestrians should never work or play on the road in an area not designated for such activities, as this increases their risk of being hit by a passing vehicle.
Ignoring traffic signals
When a pedestrian ignores traffic signals, they put themselves at risk of being struck by an oncoming vehicle.
Pedestrians should always be aware of their surroundings and pay attention while crossing the road. Distracted pedestrians are more likely to be injured by a passing vehicle.
Walking under the influence
Walking while intoxicated can impair a person’s ability to make good decisions on the roadway, such as when to cross and how to gauge the speed of oncoming traffic. Many pedestrian accidents involve substance use.
Roads that prioritize high-speed traffic over pedestrian safety
High-speed roads make it difficult for drivers to see pedestrians, and pedestrians are also more likely to take risks when crossing these roads.
Poorly lit areas
Poor visibility can lead to collisions between drivers and pedestrians, especially at dawn, dusk, or night time.
Poorly designed crosswalks
Crosswalks that are not clearly marked or lack adequate signage can confuse drivers and pedestrians. There must be designated crosswalks and signs to alert both drivers and pedestrians of their presence.
The lack of sidewalks in certain areas can force pedestrians to walk in the street, putting them at a greater risk for accidents.
How to Reduce Pedestrian Accidents
The best way to reduce pedestrian accidents is through a combination of education, enforcement, and infrastructure.
Driver and pedestrian education should include awareness of traffic laws, safety tips for both drivers and pedestrians and the consequences of reckless behavior or distracted driving.
Drivers and pedestrians should remain attentive on the roads, taking extra care when turning or crossing intersections. Both drivers and pedestrians should also avoid distractions like cell phones, radios, and other electronic devices that can distract their focus from the task at hand.
Law enforcement should strictly enforce traffic regulations as well as any other laws related to pedestrian safety.
The installation of sidewalks and crosswalks, as well as improved lighting in areas with high foot traffic, can make pedestrians more visible and reduce the risk of an accident.
Why Are Pedestrian Accidents So Dangerous?
Pedestrian accidents can be particularly dangerous because pedestrians have little to no protection from an oncoming vehicle. A pedestrian can suffer serious injuries or even death even at lower speeds. Additionally, the driver may not be held accountable for their negligence due to lack of evidence or witness testimony, making it difficult to prove fault in a pedestrian accident case.
You Might Qualify for Compensation If You Were Injured as a Pedestrian
Being a pedestrian can be dangerous, especially if drivers fail to abide by traffic laws. Unfortunately, many pedestrians are each year due to reckless and negligent driving.
You Might Qualify for Compensation If You Were Injured as a Pedestrian:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage costs
- Emotional distress damages
- Wrongful death damages (if applicable)
Common Pedestrian Injuries
Being hit by a car can lead to serious and life-threatening injuries, including:
- Head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Cuts and bruises
- Neck and back injuries
- Internal bleeding and internal organ damage
- Psychological trauma
Injured in a Pedestrian Accident? A Pedestrian Accident Attorney Can Help
Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., is a Washington, DC-based personal injury law firm. We are dedicated to helping victims of all types of accidents recover the compensation they deserve. Our experienced attorneys have over 150 years of combined experience handling pedestrian accident cases and have recovered millions in damages for our clients. We understand that no one should ever have to suffer due to another’s negligence, and it’s our mission to protect the victims’ legal rights.
You may be entitled to financial compensation if you or someone you love has been injured in a pedestrian accident. Contact us today for a free consultation.