More than 6,000 pedestrians were killed in 2016, an 11 percent increase from 2015 and the highest number of fatalities in 20 years. Part of the spike in pedestrian accidents is attributed to the increasing number of cars on the road as lower gas prices have spurred more people to get behind the wheel. But another factor is that over the past decade, there have been more distractions for both drivers and pedestrians, which means less attention is being paid to what’s happening on the road. And pedestrians are especially vulnerable, because they have no protection when they are hit by a car or motorcycle, significantly increasing the chances that they will suffer serious injuries, or die in these accidents.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
In addition to distracted driving, which obviously takes a driver’s attention off the road, there are some other causes of pedestrian accidents, including:
- Speeding – Driving faster than the speed limit has always been a problem, but it is deadly when it involves a pedestrian. One statistic found that if a car strikes a pedestrian at 20 miles per hour, the pedestrian has a 10 percent chance of dying. But if a car strikes a pedestrian at 40 miles per hour, the pedestrian has an 80 percent chance of dying.
- Visibility – A majority of pedestrian accidents occur at night because visibility is so much worse in darkness, making it very difficult for drivers to see pedestrians. Making things even more difficult is the fact that more than 70 percent of nighttime pedestrian accidents do not occur at intersections, which tend to be more brightly lit than smaller streets.
- Drunk Driving – Drivers who are impaired by alcohol are responsible for 15 percent of pedestrian accidents in the U.S. each year.
- Failing To Yield – Drivers who are in a rush to reach a destination may refuse to yield right of way to pedestrians at a crosswalk, which can cause an accident.
- Left-Turning Cars – Car drivers who are turning left are often paying more attention to oncoming traffic than they are to pedestrians who are crossing an intersection. So when they turn left, they may strike a pedestrian without even realizing that person had the right of way.
- Walking While Distracted – An increasing number of pedestrians are walking while distracted, which means they are focused on mobile phones and other electronic devices instead of focusing on the road ahead. This distraction can lead pedestrians to walk out into traffic without realizing there are oncoming vehicles, which can cause an accident
How Drivers Can Avoid Pedestrian Accidents
Drivers can prevent pedestrian accidents by ensuring that they don’t roll through stop signs, yield right of way to pedestrians, avoid distracted driving, obey the speed limit, and wait a few extra seconds when they are at intersections to ensure there is no one at a crosswalk.
If you have suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident, please contact the Law Offices of Duane O. King to see how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.