The Number of Pedestrian Accident Spikes Nationwide Due to Negligent Driving

Not that long ago, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s NHTSA released the traffic crash fatality data report from 2020, which draws attention to the fact that 38,824 lives were lost in motor vehicle collisions throughout the entire nation. Even if there were fewer drivers on the road for much of 2020, pedestrian deaths increased by 3.9% (the highest number since 1989). In theory, anyone on foot should’ve had fewer chances of being hit by a car. Regrettably, this wasn’t the case. We can’t allow this to become the status quo. 

Empty Roads Allowed Some to Drive Much Faster Than Before

Traffic volume decreased considerably during the COVID-19 pandemic as many governments introduced “stay-at-home” policies. This, in turn, created empty streets and shorter journeys. Rush hour disappeared from many cities across the country. Nevertheless, lower traffic levels led to some drivers speeding. The health crisis caused anxiety, increased consumption of alcohol and drugs, and more opportunities for speeding. There have been increases in the number of vehicles engaged in extreme speeding, a contributing factor in most motor vehicle fatalities. 

Speeding contributes to car crashes because it: 

  • Affects braking distance (The longer it takes to stop, the greater the risk of a crash); 
  • Reduces the ability to detect obstacles, so a driver is less able to see potential problems and react to them;
  • Limits the effectiveness of airbags, safety belts, and so on
  • It places a driver at risk of losing control of their vehicle. 

Many believe that speeding won’t go away when the pandemic ends. Motorists will continue to put the pedal to the metal. 

When Motorists Fail to Yield, Pedestrians Suffer Serious Injuries, If Not Fatalities 

Pedestrians are the road users at the most significant risk in urban traffic. With less protection than motor vehicle occupants, they’re more at risk for serious injury or death. The most common injuries seen in pedestrian collisions are traumatic brain injuries, musculoskeletal injuries, and abdominal injuries. A pedestrian can be tossed into the air, crushed, or their limbs can be torn off as a result of the impact they endure. Even at fairly low speeds, such as 10 miles per hour, a pedestrian has a high risk of death when struck by a car. 

With many pedestrians walking the sidewalks each day, these types of accidents are unfortunately common. Being hit by a vehicle is one of the most traumatic events anyone can experience. Liability for pedestrian accidents is based on negligence. The person who is at fault has to pay for the damages. The pedestrian, too, can be liable under a doctrine called contributory negligence, which refers to failure to act prudently. Jaywalking is an example of unsafe pedestrian behavior. The problem of jaywalking isn’t limited to urban areas.

A pedestrian accident victim should be examined by a doctor right away if they’ve suffered apparent injuries. The driver isn’t always fully liable. The burden of injury upon the individual, their family, and society is overwhelming. The severity of the injuries depends on many factors, in particular, vehicle speed, the angle of the impact upon the pedestrian, the center of gravity of the pedestrian, and the part of the vehicle that impacts most. 

SUVs, Pickup Trucks, And More Are Prone to Hitting Pedestrians 

SUVs, trucks, vans, and minivans are more likely to hit pedestrians while they’re making turns at street corners. The explanation lies in the fact that drivers don’t have a clear view of individuals crossing the road due to the design of the vehicles. Needless to say, the vehicles mentioned earlier cause more severe injuries when they strike pedestrians. They’re twice as likely to cause a pedestrian death. That’s because SUVs, pickup trucks, vans, and minivans are taller, they have poor visibility, and are more dangerous for the people walking. 

Cars continue to grow with every model year, leaving roads with larger vehicles than ever before. Their front bumpers are taller and flatter, and there’s poor visibility through the window. Enhancing vehicle design, besides addressing vehicle speeds and road infrastructure, will reduce crashes and fatalities. As opposed to the European Union, America doesn’t have any rules that require automakers to take into account the safety of anyone but the consumer. USDOT ought to issue new rules so that vehicles are made safer for pedestrians. 

Pedestrians Who Are Knocked Over or Injured May Be Able to Sue for Damages 

If a vehicle hits a pedestrian at a crosswalk, the accident is the driver’s fault. The victim has a right to compensation for the accident-related injuries. As a rule, compensation comes out of a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Less conventionally, the injured party can bring a lawsuit in civil court. With the help of a pedestrian accident lawyer, it’s possible to recover compensation for economic and non-economic damages caused by the injuries. Each case is different, so the payment that can be collected depends on the facts of the claim. 

Illinois is an at-fault insurance state, which translates into the fact that the person responsible for the motor vehicle crash has to compensate those injured in the unfortunate event. They have to cover out-of-pocket tangible expenses, such as medical bills, future medical costs, property damage, and lost wages. By contrast, New York is a no-fault state. The victim of the pedestrian accident doesn’t have to rely on the liability-based system to recover compensation for the losses they’ve sustained. The insurance company has to pay, no matter who is at fault for the accident.

So, How Can Pedestrians Avoid Accidents? 

Many fatalities can be prevented by applying some basic principles. Some of the best ways for pedestrians to avoid accidents are: 

  • Increasing visibility by wearing bright clothing, reflectors
  • Crossing the street at designated crosswalks 
  • Avoiding distracted walking

If there’s no sidewalk, it’s recommended to stay as close to the edge of the road as possible. When attempting to cross the street, it’s necessary to have a clear view in both directions. Most importantly, pedestrians shouldn’t use digital devices when crossing the street. Caution should be exercised at all times. 

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