Data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that motor vehicles are responsible for a whopping 70,000 pedestrian injuries every year.
In addition, there are more than 4,000 collision-related pedestrian fatalities annually. How and when do such accidents occur?
An urban dilemma
Most of the pedestrian fatalities reported happen in urban areas. More people are moving into or closer to cities, and municipalities, counties and the state are building high-speed roads to take them there. Many of these roads go through areas that are densely populated, and walking is the way both residents and workers get around.
In the state of California, a pedestrian may legally cross the street without using a crosswalk as long as there are no traffic lights at either end of the block. Unfortunately, many car-pedestrian accidents happen after dark when walkers are not as visible as they are during the day. This is especially true in the vicinity of a parking lot or driveway. A vehicle may exit onto the street, never seeing the pedestrian.
Pedestrians depend on hearing as well as seeing any potential danger. Therefore, they are 40 percent more likely to be struck by a hybrid or battery-operated vehicle because these cars are so quiet. Both driver and walker may be looking elsewhere when the collision occurs.
Children and seniors
The two groups that account for the majority of car-pedestrian fatalities are the over-65 crowd and children under the age of 15. The two groups together make up 27 percent of deaths and 34 percent of the injuries suffered.
Under the California comparative fault law, pedestrians may be eligible for substantial compensation, even if the court finds them to be partially responsible for the collision. Injuries to the walking public can be extremely severe and life-changing, and although they mostly occur in certain places under certain circumstances, a car-pedestrian collision can happen anytime, anywhere.