Most of our clients don’t think about pedestrian accidents until they or someone they love is involved in one of these unfortunate events. The reason pedestrian accidents aren’t more talked about is that many drivers only think of pedestrians when they are at an intersection or crosswalk. In other words, we tend to remember what we experience the most on a daily basis, and for many of us that means focusing on other drivers during our morning and evening commute, and when we are out running errands.
But pedestrian accidents are a serious problem, and they usually occur because drivers simply fail to notice that a person is walking on the road. In fact, there were more than 6,000 pedestrian fatalities in 2016, which was an 11 percent increase from 2015, and the highest number since 1996. Clearly there is a problem out on the roads and streets between pedestrians and drivers.
What Are the Leading Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?
Some of the more common causes of pedestrian accidents include:
- Driver Distraction – Many drivers are creatures of habit, which means that they are often very familiar with the routes they must take to reach a destination. That leaves drivers free to do other things like talk on a mobile phone, text, check e-mails, use a GPS device, eat and apply makeup. And every one of these things can take a driver’s eyes off the road, or a driver’s hands off the wheel. Even a distraction that only lasts a few seconds can cause drivers to miss seeing a pedestrian walking in the path of their vehicle.
- Lack of Visibility – Most pedestrian accidents happen at night, when it’s more difficult to see people walking on the road or on a street. In fact, 70 percent of accidents that occur at night, occur on smaller roads or streets as opposed to intersections. That’s significant, because intersections are usually much better lit than smaller roads and streets.
- Speeding – Speeding shows up as a cause of many other types of accidents as well, but it’s especially dangerous when it involves pedestrians. One study found that a pedestrian who is hit by a vehicle traveling at 20 mph has a 90 percent chance of survival. But a pedestrian who is hit by a vehicle traveling at 40 mph has only a 20 percent chance of survival.
- DUI/DWI – Drivers whose blood-alcohol content (BAC) is above the legal limit are at fault in 15 percent of all pedestrian accidents every year. Impaired driving limits reaction time, focus and concentration.
- Failure To Stop – A driver who fails to stop at a designated stop sign, may strike a pedestrian who has the right of way.
- Distracted Walking – Distracted walking is a relatively new term that refers to pedestrians who are walking while talking on a phone, texting, reading e-mails or playing a video game. These activities keep a pedestrian’s eyes off the road, which can create the circumstances for an accident.
It’s important for drivers to take precautions like yielding right of way at a stop sign, and staying focused on the road to prevent pedestrian accidents. Drivers who practice safe driving techniques and avoid distractions are more likely to notice pedestrians and take steps to avoid accidents.
An Advocate For Your Claim
Survivors of pedestrian accidents often find that they are saddled with high medical bills, chronic pain, and psychological scars from their experience. That’s why it’s so important that victims of these accidents hire an experienced attorney. At Kinnaird & Kinnaird, P.C., our job is to take care of all the legal issues so that you can focus on getting back on your feet. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.