November 17, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- 2010 pedestrian fatalities highlights the importance of sharing the road
A recent announcement by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, also known as the NHTSA, revealed that pedestrian fatalities in car accidents increased by 4 percent nationwide in 2010. While the NHTSA surmises the reason behind this increase, pedestrians and drivers are reminded of the importance of remaining safe on the roads.
The NHTSA has yet to find a firm reason for the increase in pedestrian fatalities, but the data gathered may help them begin to piece things together. The NHTSA's study revealed that 4,280 pedestrians were killed in accidents during 2010--accounting for 13 percent of all fatal car accidents. The majority of deaths occurred in bigger cities. Topping the list of the most pedestrian fatalities were Washington D.C., California, Hawaii, New Jersey, and New York. Kansas had the lowest number of pedestrian deaths.
It is difficult to tell whether the environment played a factor in the increase. Only 10 percent of the fatalities occurred in less-than clear weather. However, 68 percent of the fatalities occurred at night.
The NHTSA is, however, looking closely at mobile device distractions. The agency believes that the distraction of either the pedestrian or the driver may play some role in the rise. With the increase in cellphone use in the last 5 years, including texting, many wonder if pedestrians are less aware of their surroundings because they are distracted by their electronic devices.
Although laws have been passed around the country to keep drivers from texting or talking on cellphones while driving, similar laws aimed at pedestrians have not been regularly considered. This is surprising since more than 1,000 people have been treated in emergency rooms in the past year for injures received while using a cellphone or other electronic device while walking.
Safety tips for drivers and pedestrians
The increase in pedestrian deaths is a firm reminder that both drivers and pedestrians need to stay alert and aware of their surroundings to prevent auto accident injuries.
Drivers should follow proper speed limits and be ready to stop at all crosswalks. Further, drivers should take extra caution when driving at night or during bad weather.
Just like motorists, it's important for pedestrian to obey all traffic signs and laws and to only use crosswalks at intersections. In 2010, nearly 80 percent of fatal pedestrian accidents did not take place in an intersection.
Pedestrians are also encouraged to walk on sidewalks or paths and wear bright clothing--particularly at night. This can make them more visible to drivers.
However, both pedestrian and drivers should avoid distractions, like the use of electronic devices, when traversing the sidewalks or roadways.
Unfortunately, both auto and pedestrian will still happen. If you or a family member have been injured in a car accident as pedestrian or even as a driver, you may be entitled to compensation under the law. Seeking the advice of an auto accident attorney who can help is recommended.