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Crosswalk Accidents

Pedestrian accidents are all too common. They are also too frequently fatal for the pedestrian. Federal statistics indicate that nearly 5,000 pedestrians died in traffic accidents in 2013, while another 66,000 were injured. In all, 4,653 traffic accidents that year resulted in at least one pedestrian fatality. In 2013, a pedestrian died in a traffic accident every two hours.

The numbers have only gotten worse with time. In 2015, 5,376 pedestrians died in traffic accidents throughout the United States, an average of one pedestrian traffic death every 1.6 hours. Further, nearly 129,000 pedestrians received medical treatment for non-fatal injuries suffered in traffic accidents in 2015, nearly double the number of pedestrian injuries found in 2013. Further, statistics indicate that pedestrians are about 1.5 times more likely to suffer fatal injuries in a traffic accident than are passenger vehicle occupants.

The personal injury attorneys at Slappey and Sadd have considerable experience handling cases for victims of all kinds of accidents, including traffic accidents that result in injuries or death for pedestrians. If you or a loved one has been injured, or worse, killed in such an accident, it's wise to speak with an attorney to see what your options are. You might be able to recover compensation under such circumstances. Our attorneys have handled many cases involving accidents such as these and are dedicated to protecting the rights of our clients.

Pedestrian Traffic Accidents are Widespread

A recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association found that pedestrian traffic fatalities are rising annually at an alarming rate, growing in numbers considerably faster than all other traffic fatalities. Pedestrian traffic deaths rose 27 percent from 2007 through 2016, while all other traffic deaths declined by 14 percent over the same period. Moreover, pedestrian fatalities rose as a percentage of total traffic fatalities, climbing from 11 percent of all traffic deaths in 2007 up to 16 percent of traffic fatalities in 2016. That represents the highest percentage of overall traffic deaths constituted by pedestrian traffic fatalities in the last 33 years.

Further, more than twice as many states in 2016 had pedestrian traffic death rates of at least 2.0 per 100,000 population as in 2014, increasing from 7 states with that death rate in 2014 to 15 states with a pedestrian fatality rate that high in 2016. Pedestrian traffic fatalities rose 28 percent in the nations ten largest cities from 2015 to 2016. And things are not improving. The GHSA estimates that pedestrian traffic fatalities rose to nearly 6,000 in 2017.

Some States are More Deadly Than Others

The GHSA report found that pedestrian fatalities differed widely from state to state in the first six months of 2017, with some states having negligible pedestrian fatalities and others experiencing high numbers of pedestrian traffic deaths.

  • Likewise, the number of deaths in each state varied widely from state to state in the first half of 2017, ranging from one pedestrian fatality in Hawaii to 352 in California.
  • The GHSA found that five states -- California, Florida, Texas, New York, and Arizona – reported more than 100 traffic pedestrian fatalities each, while 12 states and the District of Columbia each reported fewer than ten such deaths.
  • The same states that reported at least 100 pedestrian traffic deaths accounted for 43 percent of such fatalities in 2017.
  • Arizona was found to have the highest per capita rate of pedestrian fatalities, while Hawaii had the lowest.
Certain Times and Places are More Dangerous for Pedestrians

Not surprisingly, there are some times of day that are more dangerous than other times for pedestrians. Federal statistics indicate that:

More pedestrian traffic fatalities happen in urban areas than in rural areas than rural areas. About 73 percent occur in urban areas, as opposed to 27 percent in rural areas.

Almost 70 percent of pedestrian traffic fatalities happen at places other than intersections. Only about 20 percent happen at intersections.

Most pedestrian fatalities happen in the dark – 72 percent – while 25 percent happen in daylight, with four percent evenly split between dawn and dusk.

Steps that Drivers and Pedestrians Can Take to Avoid Pedestrian Deaths

Fortunately, pedestrian traffic deaths are not some kind of Gordian knot that is impossible to untie. Such deaths are not inevitable, and in fact, are rather easily avoided. For pedestrians, these steps are simple:

  • If possible, walk on a sidewalk.
  • When there is no sidewalk, walk on the shoulder, facing traffic.
  • Stay alert. You’re waking next to two-ton machines going far faster than you are, so keep your eyes off your phone or other electronic devices and pay attention to the traffic around you.
  • Day or night, exercise caution when walking along or crossing a roadway. Never assume that drivers see you. They might be drunk or distracted.
  • Cross the road at crosswalks or intersections. That’s where you’re supposed to cross, and where drivers will be expecting you to cross.
  • If there is no crosswalk or intersection, try to cross the road at a well-lit area, waiting for a break in traffic that gives you time to cross safely.
  • If you are injured in a pedestrian accident, speak with an experienced attorney to determine your options.

Drivers also can take steps to reduce pedestrian traffic deaths. Such steps include:

  • Be alert for pedestrians. Pedestrians might be walking where they should not be or where you don't expect them. Be especially alert for pedestrians when visibility is poor – at night or during rainy or foggy conditions.
  • If a pedestrian is in a crosswalk, stop. Don’t debate right of way. Also, don’t pass a vehicle that is stopped at a crosswalk – that driver might be stopped for a pedestrian you can’t see.
  • Even where there is no apparent crosswalk, approach intersections with caution – be alert for pedestrians. Do the same when you are turning at an intersection – there might be a pedestrian crossing the road onto which you are turning.
  • Obey speed limits, and be particularly alert in school zones and in residential neighborhoods where children at play might be entering roadways without warning.
  • As always, don’t drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Contact an Atlanta Accident Attorney

If you have been involved in an accident involving pedestrian injuries, you may be able to recover damages through a personal injury action. Your rights are too important to leave to chance. Contact the attorneys at Slappey & Sadd for a free consultation to discuss your case by calling (404) 255-6677 or reach out to us through our online contact form. Our attorneys serve the entire state of Georgia, including Smyrna, Decatur, and Marietta.