Pedestrian accidents are some of the most tragic accidents that can happen, and they’re often preventable. But as more people are choosing to walk or ride a bike rather than take a car, many careless or inattentive drivers simply aren’t minding the road as well as they should be—and the result is that more people than ever are getting hurt.
Here’s a look at the numbers on this increasingly dangerous problem, including statistics, what’s causing these accidents, and what you can do if a negligent driver has hurt you or a loved one.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics
On a national level, pedestrian accidents are on a major increase. Preliminary estimates from the Governor’s Highway Safety Association show that the number of pedestrian deaths increased by as much as 11 percent in 2016 when compared to the previous year. It’s not just a one-year bump, either: from 2010 to 2015, pedestrian fatalities increased by 25 percent.
On a state level, Texas isn’t doing well on pedestrian accident fatalities, either. The Texas Department of Transportation’s figures for 2016 shows that there was a 21.5 percent increase in pedestrian deaths in the state, well above the national average. Only four states together account for as many as 42 percent of all pedestrian deaths—and Texas is one of those four, along with California, Florida, and New York.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
While the specifics of every accident are unique, there are some common themes in the way that pedestrian accidents often occur. Here are some of the biggest risks and dangerous locations for pedestrians to watch out for:
- Uncontrolled intersections. All intersections pose some of the worst dangers for pedestrians. Intersections that are lacking crosswalks or traffic control devices such as lights, stop signs, and walk signals are where many fatal accidents occur.
- Drivers turning left. When a car is making a left-hand turn, the driver is usually focused on what’s right in front of the car as they cross the intersection—and they may not see a pedestrian crossing the street until it’s too late. Similarly, pedestrians are often looking forward when crossing and may not see a car that’s turning until it’s too late.
- Rolling-stop right turns. Cars turning right can also be a hazard, as inattentive or hurried drivers often neglect to come to a complete stop before a right turn. Even if there is a stop sign or a light, some drivers simply won’t see a pedestrian that’s crossing legally.
- School zones. Even though there is usually signage that indicates drivers need to slow down to as low as 15 miles per hour in school zones, some drivers choose to ignore school zone signs and speed or drive carelessly, putting children and adults alike at risk when crossing the street.
Distracted driving is a serious problem that’s leading to more car accidents and pedestrian fatalities than ever before. Since smartphones and other gadgets have become almost universal, pedestrians need to be more cautious than ever for drivers who are using their phones to talk, access maps or directions, and even text, all while not looking at the road.
Get Legal Help After an Accident
If you or someone you love has been hit by a careless, reckless, or otherwise negligent driver, you may be able to seek compensation from the responsible party with the help of a personal injury lawsuit. Even if the driver who hit you has been arrested and faces criminal charges, a civil lawsuit can help you and your family recover financial damages to pay for hospital bills and doctor’s visits, physical therapy or rehabilitation, and other costs related to the accident. Contact a personal attorney to begin exploring your legal options.
The attorneys at Wayne Wright LLP have been standing up for the rights of those who have been injured in preventable accidents for decades, and we are here to help your family start the recovery process today. For a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced legal professional, call us by phone, use our online contact form to send an email, or click the live chat box on this page now.