As people walk and jog for their health, and to get around when public transportation isn’t available, the risk of accidents increases. While walking is good for a person’s health, it can lead to life-altering consequences in the event of an accident. According to NHTSA, pedestrian injuries and fatalities are increasing. Here, readers will learn about common pedestrian accident causes and which groups are most likely to be affected.
Pedestrian Accidents: Who’s Most Vulnerable?
While pedestrian injuries and fatalities affect people from all walks of life, certain segments of the population are at greater risk. According to the CDC, these groups are most vulnerable.
- Male pedestrians. They’re more likely to be injured than women.
- Teens and young adults 15-29 years old. This age group is more likely to be treated in an emergency room than any other.
- The elderly. As people get older, they’re more likely to succumb to injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident.
- Those who are intoxicated. It’s reported that 34% of pedestrians who died in accidents had blood alcohol concentrations over the legal limit.
Finally, children are at much greater risk of death in pedestrian accidents. According to the IIHS, almost 20% of traffic fatalities in those 14 and under are pedestrians.
The Most Common Causes of Accidents Involving Pedestrians
Motorists have a duty of care to pedestrians. They must obey traffic laws and watch out for those who aren’t as visible. When a driver fails in this regard, however, a traffic crash is often the unfortunate result. Negligence causes accidents in the following ways.
- Distracted driving. When a person is distracted behind the wheel, their eyes and mind aren’t focused on the road. If a pedestrian who has the right of way walks out in front of their vehicle, the consequences could be tragic.
- Not only is it a traffic law violation, but in some cases, it is also considered reckless driving. A pedestrian hit by a speeding vehicle may suffer even more devastating injuries because of the severity of the impact.
- When a person is intoxicated—whether it’s because of drugs or alcohol—their reasoning, reaction time, and driving skills are impaired. These drivers can miss seeing pedestrians, especially at night or in bad weather.
- Failure to yield or stop. A driver who rolls through a stop sign or doesn’t yield to a pedestrian with the right of way is more likely to cause an accident.
- If a motorist doesn’t drive safely in snow, ice, rain, or fog, they may not be able to stop in time to avoid hitting a pedestrian.
- Left-hand turns. Even if they’re in the crosswalk, a pedestrian is more likely to be hit by a left-turning vehicle simply because the driver’s attention is focused on getting through the intersection.
- Many of the most tragic accidents happen when people back over pedestrians they can’t see. Whether it’s at home or in a parking lot, pedestrians are at risk of being hit by vehicles that are backing up.
Not all pedestrian crashes are caused by negligent drivers. An intoxicated or careless pedestrian can contribute to his or her own injuries. Additionally, distracted walking accidents are becoming more common.
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