Pedestrian accidents are a serious issue in big cities like New York City and continue to be considered a significant public health concern. Not only can victims sustain serious injuries, but because of their vulnerability, it can be life-threatening more often than not. Lawyer Monthly reveals that NYC has seen a notable increase in pedestrian deaths in the last year, with more than 3,000 citizens seriously injured and 121 pedestrian deaths. Not to mention an incident in December 2019, where The New York Times reported 6 pedestrian deaths just between Wednesday and Friday. Pedestrian safety concerns are rising alongside fatality rates, demanding action and justice. The need for legal representation is also more important than ever as establishing fault and dealing with claims remain to be complex and difficult without help.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
A common cause that has been seen as both the pedestrians and the motorist’s fault in different cases involves alcohol consumption. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 47% of crashes that resulted in a pedestrian death involved alcohol for the driver and/or the pedestrian. In fact, 33% of fatal pedestrian crashes involved a pedestrian who was intoxicated, and 17% involved a driver who was intoxicated, while some fatal pedestrian crashes involved both.
Unsafe Pedestrian Behavior
According to ASU examinations, there are more contributing factors to unsafe pedestrian behavior than public intoxication. In fact, they’ve found 8 additional behavioral reasons, not including special conditions and physical environment. These behaviors include:
- Jaywalking, which they define as “walking against a pedestrian walk signal, crossing a street where there is no crosswalk, crossing a street outside a marked crosswalk where one is present, and ignoring designated pedestrian pathways.”
- Failing to yield
- Jogging/walking in the wrong direction
- Working on, leaning on, or pushing a car
- Standing between parked cars
- Standing in the road
- Unawareness of laws
- “Herd Mentality”
When it’s the Driver’s Fault
Aside from alcohol-related accidents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrationreports that common crash types where the driver is at blame include:
- Speeding/running red lights
- Hit and runs
- Turning right or left at an intersection
- Vehicles backing up without paying attention
- Distracted motorists
- Failing to obey school bus stops
- Going around Commercial buses
- Failing to yield to the pedestrian in the crosswalk
The unfortunate part about both cases where either the pedestrian is at fault or the driver is at fault is that most accidents can be avoided by both participants paying more attention to their surroundings and being responsible. Nonetheless, it is important to know and understand these common causes so more people will take preventative measures to ensure themselves and others’ safety.
Frequent Injuries Related to Pedestrian Accidents
Accidents that lead to pedestrian injuries can be severe and life-altering. Even in cases where pedestrian accidents aren’t fatal, many victims often need emergency attention and long-term recovery. Here are a few of many potential injuries that can be inflicted upon the victim of a pedestrian-vehicle accident, with more focus on severe cases:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Tissue damage
- Pelvis/upper leg injuries — Research by The Stapp Association reveals that a little over 10% of pedestrian-vehicle impacts are associated with a high rate of fatality or permanent disabilities, especially in injuries applied to the hip and pelvis.
Tips for Prevention
Due to its high fatality rate, it is more important than ever to get familiar with prevention matters related to pedestrian accidents. We are all pedestrians at some point when we walk around outside. The better prepared and more alert we are, the better the chances will be that we will see the year when pedestrian accidents start decreasing rather than hovering at a high rate or steadily increasing.
Consider the following ways to keep you and your family safe from pedestrian-related accidents, according to the NHTSA:
- Wear clothing and material that makes you visible and only take safe routes.
- Follow laws that were put in place to keep pedestrians safe, like walking on sidewalks and crossing the street at corners, intersections, or marked crosswalks.
- Be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on the surrounding traffic.
- Anticipate the actions of vehicles around you and always be alert.
- Stay informed on the common causes of pedestrian accidents to avoid them better.
How New York Officials are Addressing Pedestrian Safety
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, many states are participating in measures to engineer, educate, and enforce pedestrian safety measures. In New York, specifically, a significant amount of effort has been put into reducing the number of pedestrian-related accidents, as numbers steadily increase each year.
GHSA researchers report the following organizations and strategies being put into action in New York:
- NYS DOT is conducting pedestrian safety site evaluations at approximately 2,000 signalized
midblock crosswalks and 2,400 signalized crosswalks on state-maintained routes in urban areas.
- GTSC planned, promoted, and coordinated two six-hour pedestrian safety training workshops for law
enforcement officers, [where they] learned about the state’s plan to address pedestrian injuries and fatalities,
relevant vehicle and traffic laws, pedestrian crash issues, and data.
- GTSC conducted an annual pedestrian safety enforcement mobilization on “focus communities.”
- New York City has its own pedestrian safety initiative known as Vision Zero. The mission is to stop seeing pedestrian accidents as “inevitable” and start moving forward to actively prevent such cases.
Get The Justice You Deserve
Pedestrian accidents are more common in New York City than they should be, and considering their high fatality rate, they’re a matter that should never be taken lightly. As a pedestrian involved in an accident, it is common to sustain severe injuries to the brain, bones, spine, pelvis, and leg areas. Not to mention the potential risk for fatalities. For these reasons, you have every right to seek fair compensation, whether the motorist is fully at fault or only partially. It can be complex to deal with, so don’t hesitate to contact experts at Chaikin LaPenna, PLLC, to consult with legal representatives dedicated to getting you fairly compensated.
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