National Pedestrian Safety Month: A Retrospective
October is National Pedestrian Safety Month, as established by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The purpose is to increase awareness of pedestrian safety. Looking back, in the most recent year for which statistics are available, 6,205 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the U.S., as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). A pedestrian was killed every 85 minutes. In California alone, at least two pedestrians or cyclists are killed every day, as stated by Caltrans.
How Much Have Pedestrian Accidents Increased?
- Pedestrian fatalities were up to 6,721 in 2020, representing a 4.8% increase over the previous year, as reported by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).
- In the past decade (2010 through 2019) the number of pedestrian deaths in the U.S. has increased by 46%. This contrasts with the 5% increase for all other traffic fatalities.
- During the first six months of 2020, we saw a 20% increase in the pedestrian fatality rate per one billion vehicle miles traveled.
- 27 states had increases in pedestrian deaths during the first half of 2020 as compared with the first half of 2019.
- California pedestrian deaths increased by 5%.
What Are the Factors Contributing to Pedestrian Accidents?
Various behaviors of drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists are contributing factors to pedestrian and bicycle accidents, as stated by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). These behaviors include:
- Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
- Drug or alcohol impairment
- Distracted driving
- Aggressive driving
In addition, higher driving speeds are linked to increased crash severity and risk. More than 80% of pedestrian and bicyclist traffic deaths in 2019 occurred in areas where speed limits were 35 mph or higher. Three out of four pedestrian fatalities occurred after dark, according to GHSA.
What Steps Can Pedestrians Take to Stay Safe?
As the risk of pedestrian accidents continues to rise across the nation, it becomes even more important to follow pedestrian safety tips when you are out walking:
- Follow the rules of the road. Obey traffic signals and signs.
- Walk on sidewalks when available.
- If there are no sidewalks, walk on the side of the road facing traffic.
- Do not use electronic devices (for example, texting or listening to music) that could distract you and take your eyes and ears off the road.
- Cross at crosswalks or intersection whenever possible – this is where drivers expect to see pedestrians.
- If no crosswalk or intersection is available, cross in a well-lit area where you have an unobstructed view of traffic and wait for a gap that allows you to cross safely.
- Watch for vehicles in all directions, including those turning right or left, before you cross and while you are crossing.
- Make eye contact with approaching drivers to ensure you are seen.
- Wear bright clothing during the day to be more visible. At night, wear reflective clothing or carry a flashlight.
- Be particularly alert for cars backing up in parking lots or entering or exiting driveways.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for Pedestrian Accident Injuries?
If someone else’s negligence caused your pedestrian accident and injuries, the negligent party can be held responsible. Examples of potentially liable parties, to name a few, include individual drivers, rideshare or food delivery companies, city governments, and establishments that sell alcohol to customers. Our experienced California pedestrian accident attorney can investigate your accident to determine fault and liability and aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve.
Our founding attorney at The Law Firm of Joseph H. Low IV is a former U.S. Marine and a graduate of the prestigious Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyer College in 1998. Mr. Low founded the firm in 2002 and is rated 10.0 Superb on Avvo. After a serious pedestrian accident through the fault of another, contact us at (562) 901-0840 or toll-free at (888) 454-5569 to schedule a free initial consultation.