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Protecting yourself from pedestrian accidents

submitted by Joseph A. Cullen, Esq., Stark & Stark

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 5,977 pedestrians killed in traffic accidents in 2017.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that one pedestrian dies every 88 minutes.

Additionally, 137,000 pedestrians were injured and sought treatment in emergency rooms in non-fatal traffic accidents in 2017.

Almost half of the fatal accidents involved alcohol consumption by either the driver or the pedestrian.

The CDC also estimated that, per trip, pedestrians are one and a half times more likely to be killed in a car crash than the drivers or passengers in the involved vehicle.

In addition to alcohol consumption, some additional risk factors in pedestrian accidents are higher driving speeds, urban areas, high-density areas, non-intersectional locations, walking at night, and pedestrian/ driver distraction by electronic devices.  

Here are some tips to avoid being a victim of a pedestrian accident:

  • Wear reflective clothing and carry a flashlight if you are walking at night.
  • Use crosswalks or intersections when you are crossing the street.
  • Walk on a sidewalks or paths, and if you have to walk along a street, walk along the shoulder facing traffic.
  • Avoid using electrical devices like cell phones while walking on a street.

If you have been a victim of a pedestrian accident, we recommend you to do the following:

  • Call police and emergency medical services immediately.
  • Obtain the contact information for the driver and all witnesses.
  • If the driver has left the scene, try and remember any identifying information for the vehicle such as license plate numbers, the make and model of vehicle, and the color of the vehicle.
  • If possible, get photos of the vehicle, the surrounding area, the street signs or traffic signs, and anything that identifies the scene and scenario involving the accident.

Many times with pedestrian accidents, there is a dispute as to the mechanism of the accident, and there is a need for a thorough and complete investigation.

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