Indiana has seen its fair share of car accidents involving pedestrians resulting in death this year. One such accident, in Southwestern Indiana involved a drunk driver who also had a suspended license. The woman who was hit died as a result of the accident. Car accidents involving pedestrians seem to happen all the time. This is not a rare occurrence as car accidents involving pedestrians account for only 3% of all traffic accident injuries, but an astounding 14% of all traffic fatalities.1 On average, pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to be killed in a car crash on each trip (drive or walk).2 Hearing of these types of accidents always makes you wonder: Why do these seemingly avoidable accidents happen? Are these types of accidents on the rise? What can people do to prevent these types of accidents?
Why Do These Pedestrian Accidents Happen?
There are many different causes of pedestrian-vehicle accidents. This is a short list of the most prevalent causes3:
- Unmarked Crosswalks: Intersections with no indicated crosswalks confuse pedestrians and fail to alert drivers that pedestrians may be crossing the road. Mixing confused walkers and unalert drivers creates a very dangerous situation.
- Left-Hand Turns: Most signaled crosswalks allow pedestrians to cross the street when the only traffic coming in that direction is cars turning left. Any driver experienced with driving in a busy city is alert to this. The problem is that not all people drive regularly in the city and even those that do are not always paying attention.
- Electronics: We have all heard of “don’t text and drive,” but what about “don’t text and walk across the street”? A recent study showed that 8% of pedestrian accidents involved a pedestrian who was on their phone.4
- Quiet Cars: We have all been walking down the street and had a Prius sneak up on us. These new super-efficient vehicles are also super-quiet. This has led to these vehicles being 40% more likely to strike a pedestrian.
- Dark Clothes: 70% of pedestrian accidents happen at night. The main cause of this is pedestrians wearing dark clothing.
- Alcohol: In 2012 it was reported that either the driver or pedestrian was impaired in 48% of all pedestrian accidents resulting in death. It may surprise you that in 34% of these accidents it was the pedestrian that was impaired, not the driver.
Are These Types of Accidents on the Rise?
It is hard to tell if pedestrian accidents have increased, this is due to the lack of reporting of minor injuries and low impact accidents. One thing that can be proven is that pedestrian accidents accounted for 14% (4,743) of all traffic related fatalities in 2012 and 76,000 injuries, both of which are increases from the years past.5 While not a drastic increase, the fact that a pedestrian is killed every two hours after being hit by a car is startling.
What can people do to prevent these types of accidents?
These key tips to avoid being involved in a pedestrian-car accident will directly correspond with the causes listed above. You may notice that these tips are keyed toward pedestrians, not drivers. This isn’t because I don’t think drivers should pay more attention, this is because drivers are not the ones who face the fatal consequences of these accidents.
- Cross at a Designated Crosswalk: Crossing at a designated crosswalk not only allows you, as a pedestrian, to know when it is okay for you to cross, it also alerts drivers that a person may be crossing there.
- Be Alert of Turning Vehicles: A disproportionate amount of pedestrian accidents are happen while vehicles are making left-hand turns. Make sure, as a pedestrian that you are watching for turning vehicles.
- Do Not Text While Crossing a Busy Intersection: Look up from your phone when crossing an intersection and make sure a car isn’t about to hit you. You may also see that the world outside of your phone is a beautiful place.
- Look Both Ways Before You Cross The Street: You have probably been told this since you were a young child, but with quieter cars it is even more necessary than ever because you can no longer depend on your ears to detect a car right next to you.
- Wear Bright Clothing at Night: There is no need to wear fluorescent colors anytime you are out at night, but staying away from black, brown, or other hard to detect colors is a step in the right direction.
- If You Are Drinking, Walk With a Group: Everyone likes to enjoy a night out on the town from time to time, but if you are going to be walking from place to place try walking in a group. This will make it more likely that someone close to you is aware of the surroundings and drivers will be more aware of you, because it is much easier to see a group of people at night than it is to see one person.
In summary, pedestrian accidents are often horrific and many times end in death. For some reason these accidents have increased over time. Many of these reasons have been discussed above and may be easily resolved by taking heed to the tips listed. No one wants to lose a loved one, so be careful when walking or driving and help ensure you aren’t the cause of the next fatal traffic accident. If you or a loved one is involved in a fatal pedestrian-car accident contact an experienced Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyer immediately to get the help you deserve.
Seek Help From An Experienced Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one were injured in a pedestrian accident contact an Experienced Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorney immediately. Car accidents involving pedestrians require quick and experienced legal and investigative response to preserve any evidence and help present your case in the best light possible. Our attorneys are experienced at helping injured people receive the financial compensation they need after their injuries. Contact the Car Accident Attorneys at the Indianapolis Law Office of William “Bill” Hurst or call us toll free at (800) 636-0808 for a free consultation. http://billhurst.com.¡Hablamos Español!