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Pedestrian safety declines and pedestrian fatalities rise

It only makes sense that when you put pedestrians in a position in which they come into close proximity to vehicles, accidents could happen. Many people walk for their health these days, but doing so also puts their lives in danger.

Now that the economy appears to finally be back on the right track and gas prices have returned to somewhat reasonable levels, more people are getting behind the wheels of their cars. Many drivers are lulled into a false sense of security with all of the new safety features on vehicles, and some fail to remember that there is no substitute for them paying attention to the road and the other people on it.

Relying too much on technology

Just about everyone expected the new safety features in vehicles to reduce traffic fatalities. Unfortunately, the opposite appears to be true. For instance, in 2016, 6,000 pedestrians died in motor vehicle accidents. Sources indicate that number was the highest in the previous 20 years. It also represents an increase of approximately 11 percent from the previous year.

This jump caused researchers to look into why this happened. Put in its simplest terms, drivers are too distracted to pay attention.

Distracted driving plays a large role in pedestrian fatalities

You may find it difficult to find someone who doesn't own and use a smartphone these days. Even young children have them. Society is addicted to this technology. If you scan any street, restaurant or even movie theater before the film begins, you will find a large number of people looking at their phones.

When drivers look at their phones, they can't see a person step into a crosswalk, pay attention to traffic signals or otherwise drive safely. Even pedestrians may fail to keep a lookout if they are looking down at their phones. 

Other factors involved

Cell phones do play a role in fatal pedestrian accidents, but speed is another important factor to consider. A pedestrian's chances of dying in a crash increase from 10 percent at 20 mph to an alarming 80 percent at 40 mph.

Alcohol remains a factor in fatal crashes as well. Approximately 15 percent of pedestrian deaths involve drunk drivers. It may also interest you to know that a little over one-third of the pedestrians killed in accidents with motor vehicles were legally drunk.

The time of day also plays a role in these fatalities. An astonishing 74 percent of pedestrians died at night. Another important factor could rest in the fact that around 72 percent of pedestrians failed to use crosswalks to cross roadways.

The bottom line

You increase your chances of living if you remain sober, put your phone away and use crosswalks during the day if you walk. Even so, your diligence to your safety may not protect you from an inattentive, speeding or impaired driver. If you do suffer injuries in a pedestrian vs. car accident, or lose a loved one, you may pursue the compensation you deserve to cover the financial and other damages incurred because of another party's negligence.

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Busciglio & Sheridan Law Group
3302 N. Tampa Street
Tampa, FL 33603

Phone: 813-302-1265
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