For years, pedestrian accidents had been on the decline. However, starting in 2010, the number of pedestrians injured or killed in accidents involving automobiles has risen significantly. This increase comes at a time when overall traffic safety has improved and fatalities across most categories have decreased. In 2012, 4743 pedestrians were killed in the United States with another 76,000 having been injured. This is an increase of nearly 6% from 2011.
California mirrors the national statistics, as pedestrian accidents and fatalities in California have reached an all time high. Over 600 pedestrians are killed per year in California and another 12,000 are injured yearly. Pedestrians account for almost 20% of all traffic deaths in our state.
This alarming increase in pedestrian accidents and fatalities has caused safety experts to begin examining the reasons for this increase. Some suggested reasons for the increase in pedestrian injuries and deaths include:
- Unmarked Crosswalks—Intersections are a common location for pedestrian accidents. Using signals at crosswalks dramatically decreases the risk of accidents. Clearly marked pedestrian walkways are vitally important at or near parking lots because drivers are less likely to see people when they’re focused on parking.
- Left-Hand Turns–While certainly safer, signaled crosswalks are not immune to vehicle-pedestrian collisions. Three times as many people get hit by cars turning left than by cars turning right because both parties are looking elsewhere: The drivers are busy negotiating the intersection and street-crossers are looking straight ahead.
- Distracted walking and texting—distraction is a problem for walkers as well as drivers. Pedestrians who walk distractedly, especially while texting and walking or without paying attention to the road in front of them, are partial reason for the increase in pedestrian fatalities. Hospital data reveals that over 1,500 pedestrians were treated in ER rooms nation-wide for cell phone related injuries, caused by texting or talking on the cell-phone.
- Use of Headphones—related to distracted walking, the use of headphones among pedestrians has sharply increased since the creation of the I-Pod and the plethora of similar devices. These devices require ear buds, which often block out background noise. The number of accidents involving headphone use has risen in the past six years, and the use of headphones is said to hinder pedestrians from hearing traffic or cars around them.
When a pedestrian accident occurs, the pedestrian has the same right to seek financial compensation as any motorist. Similar to other accidents involving motor vehicles, it is important to hire an experienced and knowledgeable attorney familiar with the issues involved in pedestrian injuries and accidents, who will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident and who has credibility with auto insurance companies. If you’ve been injured in a San Diego or Riverside pedestrian accident, please contact the experienced and dedicated attorneys at Martinez & Schill LLP to discuss your case. 619-512-5995.