Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Hundreds are killed and tens of thousands die every year in pedestrian accidents. Most injurious and fatal crashes involving pedestrians could have been avoided if drivers of cars, trucks or buses did not act negligently or carelessly.
Our Fort Lauderdale pedestrian accident attorneys at The Ansara Law Firm know identifying crash causation may not always be a simple matter. In some cases, there is more than one factor. In claims for compensation, this can mean numerous defendants. If the pedestrian shared some part of the blame, it could mean a challenge to full compensation by assertion of comparative fault.
One would have thought we’d be seeing a decrease in pedestrian accidents in recent years because of the advances in vehicle safety technology. And yet, the National Safety Council reports overall traffic deaths have climbed continuously in recent years, and pedestrian accidents and bicycle accidents especially have been on the rise. Yes, there are more cars on the road and anytime gas prices are lower, we typically see an upward trend in collisions.
But that doesn’t account for the notable rise in pedestrian accidents especially.
While identifying the cause of a crash is something that must be done with careful analysis on an individual, case-by-case basis, there are some common patterns that have been noted.
Some of the elements that commonly crop up in these cases include:
- Inattention/ distraction. This can arise on the part of both the pedestrian and the driver. Distracted driving claims nearly 3,500 people a year and injures nearly 400,000 more. It’s estimated that during daylight hours, approximately 660,000 drivers are using their cell phones while driving. Many are texting, despite laws like F.S. 316.305 that ban such action. Yes, pedestrians may be distracted as well, but the question in these cases will be whether the pedestrian’s alleged distraction was causative. Certainly, motor vehicle drivers have more potential to do greater damage when they aren’t paying attention.
- Speed. The faster a vehicle is moving, the more damage will be done in a collision. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reported that the average risk for severe injury for a pedestrian struck by a vehicle is 10 percent when the impact speed is 16 mph. It’s 25 percent when the vehicle reaches 23 mph. When a vehicle reaches 31 mph, the risk is 50 percent. Vehicles traveling at 39 mph pose a risk of severe injury 75 percent of the time. Vehicles traveling at 46 mph cause severe injury in 90 percent of all cases. The risk of death is similar. This tells us the solution is two-fold: Lower traffic speeds and enforce them. This is partially a road design issue, but of course also a matter of per se negligence by the driver.
- Lack of visibility. The NHTSA reports deadly pedestrian accidents are more likely to occur in the late afternoon or early evening. People are more likely to be out-and-about, but visibility is reduced (74 percent occurred in dark rather than the 23 percent that occurred in daylight. This is not to say people shouldn’t be out-and-about during the darker hours, but here again, this comes down to ineffective road design. Traffic engineers, knowing such collisions are more likely at night, can strategically place effective lighting to reduce the odds of a pedestrian accident.
- Alcohol/ impairment. The NHTA reports that alcohol involvement – for the driver and/ or pedestrian – was reported in nearly half of all traffic crashes that resulted in a pedestrian death in 2015. “Involvement” of alcohol is defined as whether alcohol is consumed by the driver and/ or pedestrian prior to the crash. The presence of alcohol may or may not have been a contributing factor. Here again, we may see allegations of comparative fault by the pedestrian in these cases, and it will be our goal to help our clients fight back on the assertion that consumption or impairment of alcohol by the pedestrian was causative.
- Failure to stop or yield. We see this most commonly occurring when drivers “roll” through stop signs or intersections without stopping and first giving proper assessment as to whether pedestrians have the right-of-way, as they most often do per the regulations outlined in F.S. 316.130.
If you or a loved one is injured in a pedestrian accident in Fort Lauderdale, our injury lawyers will work tirelessly to identify all potential causes and defendants. This improves your odds of maximum recovery of benefits.
Fort Lauderdale Injury Lawyer – (954) 761-4011 – Free Consultation