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Survey of pedestrian accidents and ways to improve their safety

As the weather begins to warm up, more and more residents are spending time outside. While warm weather is not the only reason why residents would be traveling by foot near roadways, it is a time where there is an increase of pedestrians seen on sidewalks in cities, in parks and in residential areas. Whether an individual is walking on a sidewalk, at the edge of a road or in a parking lot, anytime a person is walking in the area where vehicle are present, there is a risk of an accident occurring.

A 2012 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration surveyed the statistics surrounding pedestrian accidents. In addition to concluding when and who is more likely to be involved in a pedestrian crash, the report also suggests ways to improve pedestrian safety.

According to the report, it was determined that roughly 4,743 pedestrians were killed and approximately 76,000 pedestrians were injured in automobile related crashed in 2012. This means that on average, a pedestrian is killed every two hours and is injured every seven minutes.

With regards to age, the average age for a fatal pedestrian accident was 46 in 2012, and the average for those injured was 35. Children 5-years-old to 15-years-old are a high risk group due to the likelihood that they are outside playing near the street. This age group accounts for more than one-fifth of the fatal pedestrian accidents in 2012.

How can pedestrians and motorists increase the safety of pedestrians? First, it is suggested that pedestrians walk on a sidewalk to a pathway whenever possible. If a sidewalk or a path does not exist, a pedestrian should travel in the opposite direction of traffic so they are facing oncoming traffic. It is also important to use crosswalks when available, to be attentive and to make sure they are visible at all time, especially at night.

For drivers, it is crucial to constantly be on the lookout for pedestrians because they could be walking in areas they shouldn't be. Moreover, during the night hours or even during bad weather, drivers should not disregard the possibility of the presence of pedestrians on or near the roads. Lastly, it is important that drivers follow the rules of the road, remain attentive and watch their speeds.

When a pedestrian accident occurs, serious injuries often ensue. If a negligent driver strikes a pedestrian, the driver could face liabilities. A personal injury claim or wrongful death suit could be filed by the victim or their loved ones, helping them recover compensation for their losses and damages.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Traffic Safety Facts," accessed March 30, 2015

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