With summer in full swing along with the current pandemic, many people have begun walking, biking, jogging, and participating in other outdoor activities as a means of entertainment and exercise. This means there are far more pedestrians on or near the streets now. Because of this, it’s important to examine how auto pedestrian accidents happen and how they can be prevented.
Have you or a loved one been injured? If so, you may be eligible for compensation. Speak to our Houston personal injury lawyers today for a free consultation.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 5,000 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in 2017 alone. This equates to roughly one auto pedestrian death every 88 minutes. In addition to this, an estimated 137,000 pedestrians were treated for non-fatal crash related injuries that same year. These numbers are staggering, as pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely to die in a car crash than vehicle occupants.
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Causes of Auto Pedestrian Accidents
While typically drivers are the cause of these deadly accidents, some of the most common reasons auto pedestrian accidents occur include:
Improper Lane Use
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 857 cyclists were killed in traffic accidents in 2018. A large percentage of bicycle accidents can be avoided if motorists follow proper bike lane rules when driving on city streets or areas that allow cyclist traffic.
Intersections can be a hotspot for pedestrian accidents when they aren’t marked with signaled crosswalks that can dramatically reduce the risk of a crash. Clearly marked pedestrian pathways are vital because drivers are less likely to see people when they’re focused on driving or parking their vehicle.
Even when using crosswalks, pedestrians risk being hit by vehicles turning left when the driver’s attention is on navigating the intersection instead of the pedestrian legally crossing the street.
Roughly 10 percent of fatal crashes involve a distracted driver and about 3.2 percent of drivers on the road on any given day are talking on cellphones. In 2017, 599 pedestrians were killed in distraction-involved crashes. Everything from texting while driving and changing music to talking with other occupants in the car are considered distracted driving behaviors.
According to NHTSA, popular battery-operated automobiles and hybrids are 40% more likely to be involved in a pedestrian accident than their gas-guzzling counterparts due to how easily they can sneak up on an unsuspecting pedestrian. The risk jumps to 50% in residential areas, where the speed limit is at or below 35mph and stops and turns are more frequent.
Alcohol or Drug Use
Each day, 30 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes, which equates to one death every 50 minutes. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is incredibly dangerous for pedestrians and other drivers alike. Intoxicated drivers are involved in 13% of pedestrian collisions.
Back Over Accidents
Some of the most tragic pedestrian accidents can happen at a person’s home if they back up their vehicles over a child they cannot see. Pedestrians are also at risk of being hit by a vehicle backing up in a parking lot, especially when there is a lot of traffic.
Preventing Auto-Pedestrian Accidents
It’s important for both pedestrians and drivers to be aware of their surroundings when out and about. Pedestrians are almost always at a higher risk simply due to the size and weight of a vehicle.
While driving, it is imperative that drivers turn on their headlights an hour before dusk to ensure they are seen by others on the road, including pedestrians. Headlights should also be on after the sun begins to rise in the morning as well as during any adverse weather, such as rain, snow, or fog. Pedestrians should avoid wearing darker colors to ensure drivers on the road can see them. Wearing white and/or reflective garments can help avoid a pedestrian accident.
Pedestrians should always look for a crosswalk to use when crossing a busy street, rather than jaywalking. Most cities and urban metro areas have dedicated crosswalks with painted lines, streetlights, and signs to alert drivers to pedestrians nearby. When there is a button to push for a stoplight, it’s important for pedestrians to ensure they wait until it is safe to walk across the road. At the same time, drivers must also watch for crosswalks to remain aware of anyone who may cross a street or busy intersection.
Follow Posted Speed Limits
Drivers should always drive the posted speed limit while behind the wheel; unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. When drivers exceed the speed limit, it can put other drivers and pedestrians in harm’s way. In the event roads are wet or icy due to the weather, drivers should decrease their speed, as slick conditions can increase vehicle speed, decreasing their ability to stop quickly.
Experienced Houston Pedestrian Accident Attorneys
Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents happen more often than they should. These incidents can be incredibly devastating and cause injury or death to victims. At Ramsey Law Group, we assist clients in seeking compensation for a driver’s negligent actions. We have the knowledge, skill and resources to pursue your claim. In the last pedestrian accident our attorneys litigated, the jury returned a verdict for $43,600,000 in favor of our injured client.
That verdict was the #1 auto-pedestrian verdict for the State of Texas in 2017 and was listed as a Top 50 Verdict in the United States the same year.