Pedestrian vs. Vehicle Crashes
Top Colorado auto accident attorney Mack Babcock walks you through when, why and where pedestrian collisions occur, as well as how to avoid them
In 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released the most recently compiled data on (PDF) traffic accident statistics. These numbers show that roughly 4,800 pedestrians died as a result of traffic accidents in 2012. Additionally, around 76,000 others were injured. These totals equate to one pedestrian death every 7 minutes and one injured pedestrian every 2 minutes.
What’s more, these numbers show that pedestrians have a greater chance of perishing in an auto accident than passengers in a vehicle. Given these stats, it’s important to note where pedestrians are more likely to be struck by vehicles, who is at the greatest risk of becoming a victim and what can be done to prevent pedestrian-vehicle accidents.
Where are Pedestrian vs. Vehicle Accidents Most Common?
When crossing driveways and parking lots: These activities are dangerous for pedestrians because vehicles are often moving in reverse, which can lead to reduced visibility. In many instances, pedestrians can seemingly come out of nowhere, even if the driver has thoroughly checked. Many cars now come equipped with back up cameras to help reduce these kinds of accidents.
When crossing the street: Pedestrians crossing the street can be a problem for drivers, especially when pedestrians don’t follow traffic laws or adequate crossing facilities are not available. Pedestrians crossing the street are at an increased risk of being struck when drivers are not paying attention to their surroundings.
When walking near stopped vehicles: Pedestrians are at an increased risk of being struck by a vehicle when they’re navigating around parked or stopped vehicles. This can include walking around cars that are parked on the street or when walking between cars stopped at a red light.
When turning left: When a vehicle turns left, the risk of hitting a pedestrian increases 4 times. Both pedestrians and drivers need to practice caution in these instances.
In addition to these 4 situations, pedestrians are also at an increased risk of being struck at non-intersection crossings, at night and in city settings.
- Older adults: According to the NHTSA, those who are 65 and older are at greater risk of being struck by a vehicle. As of 2012, in pedestrian-vehicle accidents about 20% of deaths and 9% of injuries involve people 65 and older.
- Children: The 2012 NHTSA report states that of the children (5-15 years old) killed in traffic accidents, one in five were pedestrians. The high number of incidents can be attributed to children’s unpredictability and height.
- Those under the influence of alcohol: In roughly 48% of pedestrian vs. vehicle accident deaths, either the pedestrian or driver was under the influence of alcohol. According to the data, pedestrians were 20 percent more likely than drivers to be impaired at or above the .08 legal limit.
Pedestrian Accident Injuries
It should come as no shock that when pedestrians are struck by vehicles their injuries are typically more severe than the passengers’. Depending on the specifics of the crash, injuries include:
- Fractured bones
- Brain injury
- Internal damage
- Spinal cord injury
These types of injuries often involve long-term medical treatment and rehab, lost work time (either temporarily or permanently), pain and suffering, and/or lifestyle changes.
How Can Pedestrians Help Safeguard Themselves?
The prevention of pedestrian-vehicle accidents should not be shouldered solely by drivers—pedestrians need to be cautious as well. Here are some safety tips:
- Pedestrians walking at night should carry a flashlight and/or wear reflective clothing to increase visibility.
- Pedestrians should always use crosswalks or designated intersections.
- Whenever possible, pedestrians should walk on the sidewalk. When sidewalks are unavailable, walkers should use the shoulder and face traffic.
As a pedestrian, recovering from being struck by a vehicle can be challenging; therefore, you should accept all the help you can get. If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian-vehicle crash, contact The Babcock Law Firm for a free consultation—we can help get you back on your feet.
Colorado Pedestrian & Bicycle Accident Resources
**NOTE – this article and all content at Injurylawcolorado.com is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.