Pedestrian Accidents on the Rise
So I was walking to grab some lunch recently, and it hit me…or rather, it almost did.
Motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians have become increasingly common. The Governor’s Highway Safety Association notes that from 2010-2020, while all other traffic deaths have increased over the last decade by approximately 13 percent, pedestrian deaths have risen a whopping 54% over the last decade. And while we only have preliminary reports from the first half of 2021 so far, projections are for those incidents to be even higher.
And it gets worse here in our hometown. According to a recent article in the St Louis Post Dispatch, in 2020, while overall motor vehicle accident rates are high–over double the rates found near our Chicago office–the rate of fatal pedestrian-involved motor vehicle accidents was higher than our neighbors by a long shot, nearly doubling runner-up Indianapolis.
Motor vehicle drivers must obey traffic laws and exercise reasonable care on the road. When drivers. and in some cases, pedestrians do not obey intersections, crosswalk, and other rules of the road, this can cause a catastrophic accident. Most pedestrian accidents include one of the following elements:
- Distracted driving - drivers talking on the phone, eating or drinking, or otherwise not paying attention to the road
- Speeding - if a driver is speeding, and doesn't see a pedestrian in the road, the pedestrian can suffer debilitating injuries
- Crosswalks - failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, or not yielding when pedestrians have the right of way at an intersection
- Left-hand turns - accounting for 25% of pedestrian accidents, left-turn accidents happen at intersections where both parties may have signals to go - drivers, even with a signal, must yield to pedestrians
- Backing up - pedestrians, mostly small children, walking behind a vehicle backing up, can result in tragic injuries to the pedestrian
There are some cases where a pedestrian can be at fault in an accident, but generally, pedestrian accidents are the fault of a negligent motor vehicle driver. Drivers are required to continually keep a lookout for pedestrians and other oncoming traffic when behind the wheel.
Now, of course, we genuinely care about your safety out there, so we do have a couple basic safety tips for you:
- Always be alert of traffic when walking anywhere near traffic
- Keep to sidewalks or walking paths whenever possible.
- Use crosswalks and obey crossing signals, where available
- Avoid walking in areas not designated for pedestrians, like highway shoulders and onramps
And if–God forbid–you do end up in a pedestrian-involved motor vehicle accident, here’s what you need to remember to do:
- Get to safety!
- Call 911
- Report the accident to the police
- Seek medical care for your injuries
- Take photos of the incident
- Call your attorney!
Stay safe out there, friends!