Pedestrian Fatalities Up Despite Overall Decline in Traffic Deaths

Over the last 10 years, the number of pedestrian deaths across the country has been decreasing ever so slightly, according to The Washington Post. But the increase in 2010 shows that pedestrian accidents remain a stubborn constant, even as the overall number of traffic fatalities has continued to decrease.
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In 2010, there were approximately 32,890 traffic accident fatalities in the country. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), close to 15 percent of these fatalities, or about 4,500 traffic deaths, were of pedestrians.

That means that a pedestrian was killed in the U. . every two hours and another was injured every eight minutes.

Our Portland pedestrian accident attorneys understand the risks. Unfortunately, many of the streets in the area are designed solely for fast-moving traffic. Pedestrians have to fend for themselves along these roadways. While most fatal pedestrian accidents happen at night, we’re asking all drivers to be on the lookout for walkers at all hours of the day.

The accidents were also most likely to happen when weather conditions were clear. Let’s be honest. There aren’t typically a lot of people strolling the streets when it’s raining or snowing out. That means the fall tourism season in Maine will be among the riskiest time of the year for these types of accidents.

Alcohol was also a common factor in many of these accidents. A driver under the influence accounted for about 15 percent of these fatalities and a walker under the influence was involved in about 35 percent of these fatalities.

More than 50 percent of the 47,000 pedestrians who were killed from 2000 to 2009 were killed along principal or minor arterials. These are the straight, wide roads that are extremely hostile to pedestrians, according to Transportation For America.

The Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) is here to offer some safety tips to pedestrians to stay safe out there.

Pedestrian Safety Tips:

-Never assume that a motorist sees you. Many times, fatal pedestrian accidents are the result of drivers simply not seeing pedestrians along our roadways.

-Wear brightly-colored clothing and reflective materials when watching at night.

-Stay out of a driver’s blind spot.

-Never let kids walk by the streets alone.

-Always cross at a crosswalk.

-Make sure that you have enough time to cross the street. If you feel like there’s any chance you’ll have to rush, sit back and wait. There’s no hurry to get across the road. Wait for a sizable gap in traffic, or for the traffic light, before attempting to cross.

-Before crossing, stop, look left, look right, and look left again and then cross.

-Walk in a predictable manner.

-At traffic lights, you always want to wait for the white WALK sign before crossing.

-Plan your walking routes to include safe intersections and large sidewalks.

-Use more that your eyes. Listen to passing traffic to increase your awareness of your surroundings.

-Avoid walking with distractions. Keep the headphones off and the phones away. You want to be able to react to any and all road hazards on the drop of a dime.

-Walk defensively. Don’t assume that motorists know that by law, pedestrians have the right-of-way. Many of them don’t.

If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, contact Peter Thompson & Associates for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-804-2004.

Additional Resources:

Pedestrian deaths are on the rise again. But why?, by Brad Plumer, The Washington Post

More Blog Entries:

Maine DOT Participates in Walk to School Day to Raise Awareness of Child Pedestrian Accidents in Bangor, Maine Injury Lawyer Blog, October 3, 2011

Spring increases risk of bicycle and pedestrian accidents in Portland, Bangor, elsewhere, Maine Injury Lawyer Blog, March 13, 2011

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