In Pennsylvania, pedestrian accidents represent only 3.2 percent of the total number of reported traffic crashes. But, they account for 12.8 percent of all traffic accident deaths. Pedestrians have zero protection as they walk around and this means that, if they are struck, even by a slow-moving vehicle, they could suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries.
Many cities in Pennsylvania including Bethlehem and Philadelphia have adopted what is known as the “Vision Zero” plan to reduce traffic deaths, especially pedestrian accident deaths. As Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers, we believe that it is important each and every one of us properly understands and becomes aware of what causes pedestrian accidents so we can prevent these tragic accidents. Both pedestrians and motorists need to become aware of how pedestrian accidents occur.
What Causes Pedestrian Accidents?
Here are some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents in Pennsylvania:
Unmarked crosswalks: According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, in 2015, 40.6 percent of pedestrian accidents occurred as the pedestrians were crossing the road. When you have unmarked crosswalks, there is more of a risk for pedestrians. Using signaled crosswalks reduces that risk significantly. Cities should design roadways where crosswalks are clearly marked and lighted, when necessary. Motorists are more likely to see pedestrians when crosswalks are clearly marked and illuminated.
Failure to yield: Under Pennsylvania law, motorists are required to stop and yield the right of way to pedestrians walking in crosswalks or intersections. Motorists have a duty of care to operate with caution where pedestrians are walking. Some of the common reasons why drivers fail to yield include distracted driving, inattention, excessive speed and failure to obey the rules of the road.
Distracted pedestrians: It’s not just drivers who are distracted. According to several recent studies, pedestrians who are distracted by cell phones and electronics are at increased risk of being involved in crash. The Governors Highway Safety Association recently released a study showing the 5,984 people were killed in 2017 nationwide as a result of pedestrian accidents. This is the second straight year that pedestrian accident deaths have added up to nearly 6,000 and experts attribute the increase to more pedestrians walking while distracted.
Alcohol and drugs: Driving while impaired is another common cause of pedestrian accidents. This occurs not only when drivers are operating under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, but also when pedestrians are walking while impaired.
Cars that don’t make noise: Hybrid vehicles and electric cars have an increased likelihood of striking pedestrians (by up to 40 percent) because they are so quiet compared to vehicles that run on gas or diesel. When pedestrians don’t hear the cars, they are less likely to pay attention. This makes it all the more important for drivers of these vehicles to pay extra attention particularly when they driving through residential areas or school zones.
Excessive speed: Going over the speed limit or driving at a dangerous speed can be extremely dangerous for pedestrians. Several studies have shown that the greater the vehicle speed, the more severe the injuries suffered by pedestrians who are struck. However, it is important to remember that grave injuries may occur even in low-speed crashes.
If You Have Been Injured
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, the experienced Pennsylvania pedestrian accident lawyers at KaplunMarx can help you secure maximum compensation for your injuries and losses. We may be able to help you obtain compensation for damages such as medical costs, lost wages and pain and suffering. Call us to schedule a free consultation and case evaluation.