You see it every day on Philadelphia sidewalks and streets. Drivers distracted by their smart phones and pedestrians not paying attention to where they’re walking because they’re too focused on their smart phones. It’s becoming the worst of both worlds warns Philadelphia pedestrian accident lawyer Rand Spear.
Walking is becoming more popular, especially now that the weather is improving and summer’s heat hasn’t hit yet. More of us are trying to live healthier lives by getting more exercise and for many it’s just simpler, easier and cheaper to walk than rely on other means of transportation. If you’re walking on city streets the benefits of walking come at a potential cost, the risk of being struck by a vehicle, adds personal injury lawyer Rand Spear.
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has released a report showing the number of pedestrians killed in traffic accidents increased 11% last year, to nearly 6,000 people, reports NPR. It’s the biggest single year increase in pedestrian fatalities ever and the highest number of deaths in more than twenty years.
GHSA executive director Jonathan Adkins called the results alarming and “counterintuitive” because more vehicles are equipped with more and better safety devices meant to at least warn, if not prevent, drivers from making mistakes that can cause deadly accidents.
“We’re seeing just the opposite, unfortunately, with a particular spike as it relates to pedestrians and cyclists,” Adkins is quoted as saying. This information was released a month after the National Safety Council (NSC) reported that traffic deaths increased 6% nationwide in 2016.
Maureen Vogel, NSC spokeswoman, stated given traffic deaths increased it shouldn’t be surprising that pedestrian deaths went up too, but what’s unexpected is the increase in pedestrian deaths is nearly twice that of overall traffic accident fatalities. She states because of a better economy more people are driving and taking advantage of low gas prices while technology is taking a toll on those inside and outside vehicles. Distracted drivers and pedestrians are getting themselves in trouble.
Melody Geraci, deputy executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance, a Chicago based organization that advocates for better walking, cycling and public transportation states that after speeding and the failure to yield, distractions are the number three cause of pedestrian fatalities, especially due to electronic devices.
Physics plays the biggest role when it comes to pedestrian deaths. Tremendous force can be brought against a person weighing 200 pounds when struck by a vehicle weighing 4,000 pounds. If a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle going 20 miles an hour, they have about a 10% percent chance of dying, according to Geraci, and if they are hit at 40 miles an hour, they have about an 80% chance of dying.
Other factors are,
- Poor visibility (74% of pedestrian fatalities happen at night),
- Jaywalking (72% of the pedestrians killed were not crossing at intersections), and
- Alcohol use by both drivers and pedestrians (15% of pedestrians killed each year are hit by a drunk driver and more than twice as many, or 34% of pedestrians, killed were legally drunk).
Saving more pedestrian lives is no mystery. Drivers need to focus on driving and obey the rules of the road. Pedestrians need to use care when walking, especially at night and while crossing streets. The challenge is for all of us not to take our safety, and the safety of others, for granted.
But for even the safest of pedestrians, accidents still happen. Drivers don’t pay attention, mistakes are made and the result can be serious injuries and even deaths to those who are walking in the wrong place at the wrong time through no fault of their own. If you or a loved one has been injured as a pedestrian a car or truck crash caused by a negligent driver, call Philadelphia and New Jersey pedestrian accident attorney Rand Spear today at 877-GET-RAND.