6 Factors that Will Kill You as a Pedestrian

Pedestrian Accidents

California Pedestrian Hit in Crosswalk is Awarded $425,000

San Diego, CA -- Following a three-day trial, a Vista Superior Court jury has ordered a San Diego company to pay $425,741.67 in damages to Carlsbad resident and Arizona State University student Haley Shook, now 23, who was seriously injured after being hit by a company truck while traversing a Carlsbad cross walk.

Attorneys Thomas Penfield and Robert Francavilla, partners with San Diego-based law firm CaseyGerry, handled the case against San Diego-based American Reprographics, LLC, a digital reproduction firm whose truck driver admitted fault when he collided with the plaintiff in the middle of a marked crosswalk.

According to Penfield, the plaintiff, then 19, was crossing the street returning from the beach when the delivery driver came around another car as he approached the crosswalk.

“Although the driver hit his brakes, he could not stop in time to avoid hitting our client. She jumped in the air to try to avoid the impact, landing on her right foot, breaking two bones,” he said. “Following impact, she fell to the street, and shortly thereafter required foot surgery. Although the crash happened in 2011, she has continued to experience chronic pain in her foot.”

Penfield noted that the defendants originally offered $100,000 but the jury agreed that the pain was permanent -- rendering a verdict consisting of $60,741.67 in past and future medical expenses and $365,000 in general damages for pain, loss of quality and enjoyment of life. 

By Larry Bodine, Editor in Chief of PersonalInjury.com

The number of pedestrians killed on U.S. roadways has increased 15 percent higher over the last five years. Released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), Spotlight on Highway Safety: Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State stresses the need for continued vigilance as more Americans choose walking as their preferred way of getting around.

A total of 4,735 pedestrians were killed in accidents with motor vehicles in 2013. Dr. Allan Williams, former chief scientist at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, estimates that 2,125 pedestrians were killed in the first half of 2014. He pointed out that states with the most fatalities are primarily large-population states with large urban centers.

Walking has been heavily promoted in recent years as a way to reduce health risks and obesity, as well as greenhouse gases resulting from cars. Reasons for the increase in pedestrian deaths are difficult to pinpoint. Possible explanations include that the economic recession may have increased waking over driving, changing demographics mean that more pedestrians are unfamiliar with the rules of the road, and warmer weather patterns may have increased walking.

  • Four states – California, Florida, Texas, and New York – accounted for 43 percent of all pedestrians deaths in 2013.
  • Delaware and Florida had the highest rates of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 residents, at 2.70 and 2.56, respectively.
  • In the District of Columbia, pedestrians account for the highest percentage of all motor vehicle deaths (45 percent), followed by New York (28 percent), Nevada (25 percent), and Delaware (25 percent).

The findings, however, do offer some promise.

  • Twenty-four states and the District of Columbia had decreases in pedestrian fatalities in the first half of 2014, compared with the same period in 2013, while five remained the same.
  • Sixteen states had nine or fewer pedestrian fatalities, with Wyoming and Nebraska each reporting just one.

Six risk factors

Six factors influence the likelihood that a pedestrian will be killed in an accident:

Advanced age: Pedestrians 70 and older have always had the highest per capita crash rate of any age group. What is troubling is the 28 percentage point surge in deaths involving pedestrians ages 20 to 69 over this same period.

Gender: About 70 percent of pedestrians killed in motor vehicle crashes are males

Time of day: Most death occur in the evening after 6 p.m. or late-night hours.

Alcohol: Excess drinking is also a factor in many of these fatal crashes. In 2013, more than a third (36 percent) of pedestrians 16 and older involved in fatal crashes had blood alcohol concentrations of .08 or higher.

Distraction: Evidence from FARS and emergency room data show distracted walking is contributing more to pedestrian injuries and fatalities. A recent survey by Liberty Mutual indicated that 60 percent of pedestrians were doing other activities while walking such as texting, emailing, talking on the phone or listening to music.

Driver speed: Driver speed increases the potential for death exponentially. Recognizing this, the speed limit in New York City was lowered from 30 mph to 25 mph last November.

The change is just one component of the New York’s “Vision Zero” plan, which also includes extensive public outreach about safe walking and driving practices, enforcement of pedestrian safety laws and infrastructure improvements. Engineering countermeasures such as pedestrian refuge islands, longer pedestrian signal timing and more visible crosswalks – combined with education and enforcement – are also being used in many states, including Washington, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

California is distributing a “how to” guide to help communities address pedestrian safety using social norming principles. At high-risk intersections in Pennsylvania, specially identified crossing guards are educating pedestrians of all ages about safe crossing practices, while police of.ficers in Delaware are participating in education patrols – violators are stopped, educated and, in some cases, given items to increase their visibility.

The full report and infographics are available online at www.ghsa.org/html/publications/spotlight/peds2014.html.

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