Pedestrian Fatalities in 2017April 16, 2018
Walking is one of the most beneficial forms of exercise that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and all fitness levels. However, according to a report by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA), pedestrian accident fatalities have been rising at an alarming rate. In fact, between 2007 and 2016, there was a 27 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities. In 2017 alone, the GHSA estimates that nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle accidents in the United States, and over half of those deaths occurred in the first half of the year.
To address this issue, and prevent additional accidents from happening, researchers identified some of the factors that contributed to the increase, and discussed possible solutions to reduce future pedestrian injuries and fatalities.
In addition to economic conditions, demographics, weather, and the amount of time people spend walking, researchers found that the growing use of smartphones may be a contributing factor, as they are a major source of distraction for both drivers and pedestrians alike. According to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, if you are behind the wheel of a car, you must be aware of your surroundings and not distracted by a phone call or a text. This also applies to pedestrians, particularly when they are crossing the street or walking in a heavily populated area where there are cars driving by. It is also recommended that pedestrians wear brightly colored, or reflective clothing so that they are more visible to oncoming motorists.
Legal Marijuana Usage and Pedestrian Accidents
Researchers suggest that there may also be a link between the number of pedestrian fatalities and the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana in certain states. Marijuana is known to impair judgment and reaction time, both in motorists and pedestrians. A recent study found a three percent increase in the frequency of collision claims in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, and a 16.4 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities in the first six months of 2017 in Alaska, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia.
Efforts to Reduce Pedestrian Accidents
Safety officials suggest a comprehensive approach to safety that includes targeted enforcement, engineering improvements, and public education. Examples include:
- Increase separation between motorists and pedestrians, such as:
– Refuge islands
– Pedestrian overpasses
– Countdown signals allowing ample time to cross
– Updated traffic signals
- Strategies that make pedestrians more visible for motorists, including:
– Improved street lighting to increase safety for pedestrians walking in the dark
– Crosswalks with improved visibility
– Rapid-flashing beacons (RFBs)
- Engineering solutions that enforce speed such as:
– Road modifications that include bicycle lanes, sidewalks, and turn lanes
– Replace stop signs and traffic signals with roundabouts, or traffic circles
– Install speed bumps and curve extensions where appropriate
– Automated traffic enforcements
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Pedestrian Accidents
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a car accident while walking or crossing the street, you are urged to contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, P.A. We will work tirelessly to protect your rights and secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, do not hesitate to call us at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.