Pedestrian Accidents: An Dangerous Problem in Texas and Nationwide

Posted By The Carlson Law Firm || 3-Sep-2012

In today’s mobile world, pedestrians are becoming rarer. Fewer children are walking to school, and more people climb into their cars for quick errands close to home. The problem isn’t always that people don’t want to walk. It is simply increasingly difficult to find safe areas to walk and feel safe as a pedestrian.

Statistics seem to support this notion. In Texas, between 2000 and 2009, over 4,000 pedestrians were killed, according to a report by Transportation for America. Nationwide, during that same time period, there were over 47,700 pedestrian fatalities and more than 688,000 were injured.

Older adults and children are the most vulnerable. According to the CDC, in 2008, those 65 and older represented 18 percent of all pedestrian fatalities and roughly 10 percent of pedestrian injuries. One fifth of children between the ages of five and nine killed in motor vehicle accidentswere pedestrians.

Safety advocates place much of the blame for pedestrian accidents on poor street designs. They are pushing for the adoption “complete streets” policies. Such policies ensure road projects take into account the needs of all types of transportation users when designing streets, including pedestrians, cyclists and those riding mass transit.

In the meantime, there are steps both pedestrians and motorists should take to avoid accidents:

  • Pedestrians should use sidewalks when available, and cross streets in designated areas.
  • When sidewalks aren’t available generally pedestrians should walk facing traffic. If walking at night pedestrians should wear reflective clothing or carry a flashlight.
  • Pedestrians should try to make eye contact with drivers to ensure they are seen.
  • Drivers should actively look for pedestrians, even in areas where they are not expected.
  • Drivers should especially watch for pedestrians in intersections, school zones, neighborhoods, and areas where children or seniors may likely be walking.
  • If stopping for pedestrians at a cross walk drivers should stop far enough back so that drivers in other lanes can easily see pedestrians and stop in time.

Hopefully by raising awareness about the dangers of pedestrian accidents, educating the public about road safety, and taking steps to improve road design, pedestrian fatalities will begin to decrease.

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