It was a glorious day! Restless children were excited to get up to the sound of a buzzing alarm, put on their newest outfit, and see their friends at school. Facebook was abound with photos of young smiling faces taking their next big steps into the first day of their new grade.
And, Moms across the Valley were doing their Happy Dance knowing that they would get some of their time back. At the same time, some parents were feeling anxious knowing that their children would not have safe transportation to school, but were forced to travel on a "safe walking route." There are and have been plenty of op-eds and social media posts about the school district's fundamental failure to adequately understand what "safe" means in this context -- orange cones instead of sidewalks and other obstacles forcing children to traverse into the street -- so that will not be specifically discussed here.
But, given the circumstances, everyone should know about the potential dangers facing our children as pedestrians.
In 2015, 5,376 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the United States. This averages to one crash-related pedestrian death every 1.6 hours. Additionally, almost 129,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency departments for non-fatal crash-related injuries in 2015. Pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to be killed in a car crash on each trip.
Who's most at risk?
Children: In 2015, one in every five children under the age of 15 who were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians.
Older adults: Pedestrians ages 65 and older accounted for 19% of all pedestrian deaths and an estimated 13% of all pedestrians injured in 2015.
Drivers and pedestrians who are alcohol impaired: Almost half (48%) of crashes that resulted in pedestrian deaths involved alcohol for the driver or the pedestrian. One in every three (34%) of fatal pedestrian crashes involved a pedestrian with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) and 15% involved a driver with a BAC of at least 0.08 g/dL.
Other factors: Additionally, higher vehicle speeds increase both the likelihood of a pedestrian being struck by a car and the severity of injury. Most pedestrian deaths occur in urban areas, non-intersection locations, and at night.
How can pedestrians help prevent injuries/death?
Whenever possible, pedestrians should cross the street at a designated crosswalk or intersection. It is also much safer to walk on a sidewalk or path, but if a sidewalk or path is not available, walk on the shoulder and facing traffic. And, when it begins to get dark, pedestrians can increase their visibility by carrying a flashlight when walking and by wearing retro-reflective clothing. These are, by no means, the solution to unsafe walking routes, but it can help increase the chances of not being injured.
The Law Offices of Torres & Haroldson Can Help
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, contact our office today for a free initial consultation. Call us at 425-458-3170 or email us at [email protected]. If your injuries prevent you from coming to our office, we will come to your home or hospital room to provide you with the service you deserve.
NB: The factual statistics were provided courtesy of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic Safety Facts 2015 Data – Pedestrians. Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; 20175. Publication no. DOT-HS-812-375, available at https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812375.