In just the year 2013 alone, nearly three years ago, there were 4.735 pedestrians struck and killed in traffic accidents in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The CDC also reports that this figure averages out to one pedestrian-car crash death every 2 hours. In addition, the CDC also states in excess of 150,000 pedestrians were treated in hospital emergency rooms for non-fatal injuries. Moreover, pedestrians are 1 1/2 more times likely than vehicle occupants to be killed in an auto collision during each trip.
Why Do so Many Pedestrians Get Hit by Cars?
Statistics also demonstrate a sad reality. One in every five child pedestrians in the United States under the tender age of 14 years were fatally struck in traffic incidents, according to the CDC, Prevention and the NHTSA. Also, pedestrians over the age of 65 account for 19 percent of all pedestrian deaths. Those same elderly pedestrians likewise make up 10 percent of all pedestrian injuries across the country.
While the number of Americans dying in car crashes has decreased steadily since 2003, the number of those cases in which pedestrians were killed by cars was at a five-year high in the latest data. In 2012, 14 percent of all people killed in traffic accidents were not in cars, but were walking, running, jogging, hiking, sitting or lying down. --U.S. News and World Report
Alcohol is involved in 49 percent of all car crashes, with either the driver or the pedestrian being under the influence. In these cases, 34 of all pedestrian fatalities involved inebriated pedestrians and 15 of drivers under the influence of alcohol. Another factor which contributes to the injuries and fatalities of pedestrians are vehicles traveling at a high rate of speed. And, the majority of pedestrian deaths occur at night, in urban locations, and at non-intersections.
Important Pedestrians Safety Tips
Clearly, pedestrians are at risk every time they venture outside onto sidewalks and streets. But you don't have to be vulnerable or put yourself at a higher risk for being struck by a vehicle. Drivers and pedestrians alike must observe the rules of the road to stay safe. Here are some important pedestrian safety tips to follow:
- Stay visible. When you are walking on the sidewalk, along the street, or crossing an intersection, you should always stay visible. It is particularly paramount to stay visible at night because most pedestrian deaths occur at night. According to NHTSA's National Center for Statistics and Analysis, 32 percent of all pedestrian deaths happen between the hours of 8 p.m. and 11:59 p.m.
- Avoid distractions. You've seen people stumble across this or that, walk right into a door or wall, and other embarrassing accidents because they were distracted by their phone or something else. You can easily become a statistic if you allow yourself to be distracted when walking. Don't wear headphones and do not use your phone because you instead need to be alert and aware of your surroundings.
- Obey the rules of the road. Too many pedestrian injuries and deaths occur due to pedestrians not following the rules of the road. Do not walk across an intersection against warning signs and always observe and obey the rules of the road. Additionally, do not assume drivers will give you the right of way.
- Only walk in safe places. In the majority of pedestrian injuries and fatalities, proper crosswalks were not used or available. Stay on sidewalks when possible and only walk in safe places. Do not attempt to walk along busy highways or roads.
- Avoid consuming alcohol. Nearly half of all pedestrian-vehicle accidents involve alcohol. And as you have read above, most of the time, 34 percent, it's the pedestrians who were under the influence. Avoid drinking because it seriously impairs your judgment.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian or auto accident, you need to speak with an experienced attorney right away. Vititoe Law Group for a free evaluation of your case. It's critical to learn about your legal rights and whether you might be entitled to compensation for the harm you have suffered.