It’s not uncommon to hear about people being hit, injured, or even killed by a vehicle. Pedestrians are put at risk daily by reckless or distracted drivers. Every year, pedestrian vs. motorized vehicle accidents account for 3.2 percent of all traffic crashes in Pennsylvania. While that percentage may not seem high, it’s important to recognize that those collisions account for 13.2 percent of all traffic crash fatalities. Because of that high figure, it begs the question as to whether or not pedestrian crashes are happening more often.
Pedestrian vs. Vehicle Accidents in Pennsylvania
Pedestrian accidents rates fluctuate in Pennsylvania from year to year, but they are more common in urban areas. This can be attributed to the increase in traffic and congestion and the number of individuals who walk to their destinations on a daily basis.
The 2017 Crash Facts & Statistics Report noted the five-year trends for pedestrian accidents. While the number has decreased from 4,375 in 2013 to 4,086 in 2017, the fatality rate only went down by one loss of life. As such, pedestrian accidents aren’t necessarily becoming more common, but they are just as dangerous. Drivers and pedestrians alike need to be aware of the possibility of an accident and what steps to take decrease the risk.
Who is Most at Risk?
There are two groups of individuals who are more at risk of being struck by a vehicle. The first group is older adults over the age of 65. Senior citizens generally take longer to cross the road than someone younger. A short crossing signal could put them in danger. Roadway design can also create hazardous conditions. Not all streets and thoroughfares take pedestrians into account. Safety measures like islands, raised medians, or sufficient lighting could be missing. An elderly person is also more likely to be affected by injuries than someone who is younger.
The second group of people who are more at risk for pedestrian collisions is children. Nationally, one in every five pedestrians killed in 2015 was under the age of 15. In general, children do not have the impulse control adults have. As a result, they could run into the street to get a toy and get hit by a car. Drivers are also less likely to see children because of their short stature, which is why many children are injured in backover accidents.
Consequences of a Pedestrian Accident
The consequences related to a pedestrian accident can be staggering. When someone is hit by a car, the physical injuries can take a serious toll. The human body is not meant to withstand a collision with a multi-ton vehicle at any speed, which is why broken bones and serious head injuries are common. Victims’ lives can be permanently changed if they have to cope with a disability. Many pedestrians pass away from these accidents, which can make it hard for their families in a number of ways, as well.
The financial consequences are also likely to be difficult to manage. Victims may be tasked with paying for expensive medical bills and treatments in an attempt to get their lives back in order. Time away from work can create a monetary deficient and destroy a family’s savings. Fortunately, seeking compensation with a lawyer can aid with the financial burdens.
While the physical and financial consequences are thought of most often, pedestrians who are hit by a car will also have to deal with the psychological ramifications. It can be difficult to cope with such a traumatic event and victims may suffer from sleep disturbances, anxiety, depression, flashbacks, and mood swings. Psychological treatment is likely to be expensive and the road to recovery can be long.
Steps Drivers can take to Prevent Pedestrian Crashes
While the accident rates for pedestrians vs. vehicles have been consistent over the years, learning how to prevent crashes can ensure rates do not climb. In fact, accidents rates could decline over time when drivers are aware of the importance of watching for pedestrians. There are a number of things drivers can do to avoid striking someone on foot.
First off, it’s crucial for drivers to slow down in pedestrian areas. People can be unpredictable, so driving at a decreased speed can give drivers extra time to notice and respond to nearby walkers. It’s also a good idea to look for eye contact. Pedestrians are likely to attempt to make eye contact with drivers to assure them it’s safe to cross. This confirmation can aid both parties.
In regard to the parties who are more at risk for getting into an accident, it’s important for drivers to be patient with seniors and be on the lookout for children. Drivers should give older people the time they need to cross the street without getting frustrated. They should also remember to always check the back and sides of their vehicles before pulling out of a spot or backing up, to avoid hitting a child who is near their car. Also, school bus rules and school crossing signs should always be abided by.
If you were struck by a vehicle while on foot and were injured, you have the legal right to file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for the damages you incurred as a result of the driver’s negligence. The lawyers at Shrager & Sachs are proud to represent the citizens of Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. We understand how traumatizing it can be to be in a pedestrian accident, and we’re prepared to provide victims with the legal guidance and representation they need. To learn more, contact our office today.