According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) 137,000 pedestrians were treated for non-fatal crash-related injuries in emergency rooms across the United States in 2017. That same year another 5,977 pedestrians were killed.
Alcohol plays a role in many of these statistics. The CDC estimated nearly half of all pedestrian accidents involved alcohol use by either the driver or the injured pedestrian. Seventeen percent of those fatal pedestrian crashes involved a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 grams per deciliter or more.
Children and Older Adults are More at Risk
Twenty percent of pedestrian deaths involved a victim over the age of 65 in 2017. Further, 10 percent of those injured were seniors over 65. Children are also common pedestrian crash victims. One out of five children killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2017 were pedestrians.
Common Pedestrian Injuries
The risk to pedestrians has increased. The rate of pedestrian injuries was up three percent in 2018 over 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Pedestrian injuries vary from minor cuts and bruises to paralysis and even death. The following is a list of the most common pedestrian injuries:
- Lacerations, cuts, and bruises
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injury
- Pelvic injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Rib fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
How to Stay Safe on the Road
As a pedestrian, you will never be a match for a large vehicle. However, there are some things you can do to help protect yourself as a pedestrian.
- Wear reflective clothing, especially at night
- Carry a flashlight
- Cross the road in designated areas only
- Use caution if you or someone you are with has been under the influence of alcohol
- Avoid the use of earbuds or headphones while you are walking
- Obey traffic laws and rules
- Stay alert. Watch for cars at all times
- If you must walk along the road, face traffic.
- Assume drivers did not see you. Make eye contact if you can.
- Be as predictable as you can. Avoid darting out into traffic.
Drivers Putting Pedestrians at Risk
Despite your best efforts to be safe, unsafe drivers cause pedestrian injuries and deaths every day. Unsafe drivers are often distracted by electronic devices, impaired by alcohol or drugs, or behaving in an aggressive manner.
Speeding is a major problem for pedestrian accidents. Drivers often underestimate their speed and put people on the streets around them at risk. The faster the driver is going, the less likely they are to see pedestrians on the road. Higher speeds also mean more severe injuries if a pedestrian is struck. High traffic volume also increases risks to pedestrians.
What Happens Next After You or a Loved One is Hit by a Vehicle
The first step after a pedestrian accident is to seek emergency medical assistance. Call the police or other emergency services and make sure that the pedestrian is treated. If possible, move out of the roadway to prevent further injury.
Where possible, document the injuries. Record the name of the driver and witnesses, the make and model of the vehicle or vehicles involved, and the license plate numbers of those vehicles. Write down the details of the crash. Open the audio recorder app on your phone and record as many details as you can, as clearly as you can.
If you or your loved one require medical services, keep all receipts and records. Obtain a copy of the police report. If you are contacted by anyone claiming to be a representative of the driver or their insurance company, say nothing until you speak to a pedestrian accident injury attorney.
If you are a pedestrian and you have been injured in an automobile accident, the process of filing an injury claim is complicated. Just as medical injuries require proper medical attention, your pedestrian injury lawyer will guide you through the lengthy process. Seek the professional help of a pedestrian injury attorney.