What are the primary causes of pedestrian accidents?

Although a portion of the pedestrian accidents that occur are the responsibility of the pedestrian, most often, pedestrian accidents are the result of negligence on someone else’s part. This negligence can be attributed to a driver of a vehicle, or to someone who has been entrusted to keeping the sidewalk or street safe such as a maintenance company. Another possibility for injury would be debris that has fallen from a truck or been left by a construction company.

Some of the most common types of pedestrian accidents include:

•A pedestrian is hit while a vehicle was turning or preparing to turn at an intersection.

•A pedestrian is hit in a mid-block collision where the pedestrian entered the driver’s field of view leaving little or no time to react.

•A pedestrian is struck in parking lot or other non-roadway area.

•A pedestrian is struck while walking or jogging along the side of the road going with the traffic.

•A pedestrian is running through an intersection (as opposed to mid-block).

•A pedestrian is struck by a backing vehicle.

Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

Traffic crashes involving an injured pedestrian usually could have been avoided if the driver of a car, truck, or bus had not acted negligently or carelessly. Drunk driving, speeding, driver inattention, driver inexperience, malfunctioning traffic signs, debris on the road, failure to yield, and failure to stop are, unfortunately, common causes of pedestrian injuries and wrongful death.

When drivers don’t pay attention to the road, fail to stop at pedestrian crossings, or ignore road signs and speed, they put the lives of our children and loved ones in danger. Drivers may be distracted or simply not see a pedestrian crossing the street. However, when drivers are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the risk of hitting a pedestrian is considerably increased.

A study in early 2010 concluded that Florida has a disproportionately high rate of fatal pedestrian accidents and bicycle accidents. Since then, experts have been speculating as to why the state accounts for only 6% of the nation’s population but 11% of pedestrian accident fatalities and 17.4% of bicyclist accident fatalities. Experts have found several causes:

1) Behaviors. Experts agree that individual behaviors and poor decisions – such as the decision to drive distracted, despite the risk of Florida car accidents or the decision to cross outside of a crosswalk – are key to many Florida car accidents and traffic accidents. However, this alone does not explain why Florida residents’ decisions seem to result in more traffic fatalities. It is hard to judge, for example, whether Florida residents make these poor judgments more often or whether their decisions simply tend to have more serious consequences for some secondary reason.

2) The structure of roads. A study by the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership and Transportation for America found that the move from clustered traditional streets to high-speed highways poses special dangers for pedestrians. However, other experts claim that streets themselves do not cause accidents.

3) A graying population. Older drivers are often blamed for Florida car accidents, especially since Florida has a graying population. However, at least one study has found that the number of elderly persons killed in Florida pedestrian accidents is 17%. This is on par with the nation-wide average.

4) Design. Representatives of Bicycle/Pedestrian Advocates, a non-profit group, believe that most community designs are determined by developers, who may not always consider the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians when making design decisions.

5) Lack of education programs for pedestrians and bicyclists. According to the Florida Bicycle Association, there are few awareness programs designed specifically for bicyclists and pedestrians. Programs that remind pedestrians and bicyclists of safety rules or remind drivers about safety issues involving pedestrians and bicyclists could reduce some accidents, advocates believe.

There is some hope. Tampa was targeted as the US’s most deadly city for pedestrians in 2000 and the city got serious about changing that image. After introducing bike lanes, bike trails, crosswalks, education programs, more enforcement, more sidewalks, and other initiatives, the city’s rate of pedestrian accidents fell 56% between 2000 and 2008.

When involved in a motor vehicle-pedestrian/bicycle accident, the assistance of an experienced, aggressive attorney is invaluable to protect your rights and insure you get all the benefits you may be entitled to. Dan Newlin & Partners are exactly those types of attorneys, always fighting for everything our clients are entitled to. Our experience of handling over 10,000 personal injury cases, and dealing with most major insurance companies, allows us the ability answer all of your questions in a timely and professional manner and to maximize the value of your case insuring that you receive all the benefits that you are entitled to. If you have any questions about what rights you may have as a result of being involved in a motor vehicle-pedestrian/bicycle accident, or any other type of accident, please call Dan Newlin & Partners at (407) 888-8000.