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Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer says pedestrian deaths and injuries are on the rise

RTA_9979With the weather beginning to warm, traveling by foot might be might seem like a healthier option, but it’s not always safer. The World Health Organization reported that more than 270,000 pedestrians lose their lives on the world’s roads each year. Globally, pedestrians constitute 22% of all road deaths, and in some countries this proportion is as high as two thirds.

According to a recent study by the University of Nebraska Medical Center, distracted driving is increasingly causing fatalities among pedestrians. The study looked at accident records between 2005 and 2010; focusing on bicycle and pedestrian accidents where the driver was using a cellphone, GPS system, radio, or another distracting device before the accident. It was found that the number of fatal pedestrian accidents per 10 billion vehicle miles traveled increased from 18.7 to 24.6 during this time period.

The results of the study made it clear that distracted driving is claiming an increasing number of pedestrians, as they have little protection on roadways. The results suggested that distracted drivers were 1.6 times as likely as non-distracted drivers to fatally hit pedestrians at marked crosswalks, and on road shoulders, they were nearly three times more likely to hit pedestrians.

On average, a pedestrian is killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes in traffic crashes in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Facts. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 2012, 4743 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 76,000 were injured in traffic accidents. This was a 6.4% increase in fatalities and a 10% increase in injuries from the previous year. Pedestrians have grown to represent a larger share of all fatal traffic fatalities and injuries in the U.S., accounting for 17% of the total traffic fatalities in 2012.

The NHTSA also reported that fatalities among pedestrians increased for the third consecutive year. The data showed the large majority of pedestrian deaths occurred in urban areas, at non-intersections and at night. 32% of pedestrian fatalities occurred between 8 and 11:59 pm.

In 2011, almost one-fifth of the children between the ages of 5 and 9 killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians. Safe Kids Worldwide reported that 465 U.S. children died from pedestrian injuries in 2011 and that 80% of child pedestrian deaths occur at non-intersection locations. Seniors over the age of 65 also represented a higher percentage of the fatalities and injuries.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that alcohol impairment, either for the driver or the pedestrian, was reported in 47% of the traffic crashes that resulted in pedestrian death.

The 2011 NHTSA data reported for Pennsylvania showed that pedestrian fatalities accounted for 11.4% of all traffic fatalities in the state. In New York, the percentage jumped to nearly 25% and in D.C. pedestrian fatalities are nearly 30% of the total traffic fatalities.

Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer Julia Munley said that key risk factors for pedestrian road traffic death and injury are vehicle speed, alcohol use, lack of safe walking areas for pedestrians and inadequate visibility. Attorney Munley has the following safety tips for pedestrians:

  • Walk on a sidewalk or path whenever available.
  • When no sidewalk is available, walk facing traffic, as far away from traffic as possible.
  • Be cautious when walking near a roadway day or night, never assume a driver sees you.
  • Cross only at well-lit crosswalks or intersections whenever possible.
  • Stay away from freeways, restricted-access highways, and other pedestrian-prohibited roadways.
  • Be visible at all times, wear bright, reflective clothing and use a flashlight at night.
  • Keep alert at all times and don’t be distracted by electronic devices.
  • Avoid alcohol when walking near roadways.

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, contact the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys at 855-866-5529.

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