The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has published a new report on fatal pedestrian accidents in the US. According to the new report, pedestrian deaths have increased over the past decade while other types of traffic accidents have decreased. GHSA’s report shows there were 4,699 fatal pedestrian accidents in 2007. Just under 6,000 pedestrians died in 2017, which is roughly the same number of deaths that occurred during 2016.
The report also lists several factors that may be responsible for pedestrian deaths each year. According to GHSA, states that legalized marijuana for recreational usage saw a collective 16.4 percent increase in fatal pedestrian accidents. Additional factors identified by GHSA and other organizations include speeding, distracted driving, distracted walking, alcohol usage and more cars on the road.
What Can Pedestrians Do to Protect Themselves?
It goes without saying that pedestrians are extremely vulnerable when they are walking or riding near motor vehicles. You may try using the following safety tips to avoid being involved in a pedestrian accident.
- Increase your visibility. We have written extensively about how you can increase your visibility if you are a cyclist. Some of the same tips can be used if you are a pedestrian. If you are walking at nighttime, consider bringing a flashlight and wearing light clothing. Try to stay in well-lit areas if you are able. You could also attach reflectors or reflective tape to a backpack, hat or vest.
- Avoid alcohol use. Alcohol can increase your risk of being involved in an accident. Consider using a ridesharing service or designated driver to get to your destination if you have been drinking.
- Stick to sidewalks and crosswalks. If you are a pedestrian, then you should stick to sidewalks when you are able. Avoid jaywalking to cross a street, as it increases your risk of being hit by a vehicle. Use a designated crosswalk instead.
- Remain attentive while crossing streets. Before crossing a street, look left, right and then left again. You should also consider not wearing headphones while walking across the street. Finally, never assume that other vehicles can see you. Make eye contact with drivers before crossing.
There are other factors about pedestrian and bicycle accidents that should be considered. Future blog updates this month are going to discuss the risk factors for a pedestrian accident in more detail. Continue following Dudek Law Firm, APC and California Bicycle Safety for future blog updates.