A number of crashes involving pedestrians have been reported in recent weeks, prompting a reminder from our pedestrian accident lawyers that motorists must be more cautious of those traversing the roads by foot.
Officials report that a 75-year-old pedestrian in Portland suffered serious injuries after being struck by a vehicle on Forest Avenue. The man was struck as he crossed Forest Avenue by a 26-year-old driver. The crash remains under investigation.
A short time later, a pedestrian accident in Farmington left a 26-year-old jogger wounded after she was struck by a pickup truck driven by a 25-year-old man. Authorities say the pickup truck was likely traveling too fast and began to slide on the icy road. The driver tried to swerve to avoid the jogger, but ended up hitting her anyway before slamming into a snowbank. Wind and freezing rain conditions meant the LifeFlight helicopter was unable to make it to the scene. The victim was driven by ambulance to a nearby hospital, where she was recently upgraded to fair condition.
The Maine Department of Transportation released a report not long ago detailing the trend of pedestrian accidents throughout the state. In the five years detailed in the report, Cumberland County tallied the most pedestrian accidents – 402 out of 281,674 crashes total. Penobscot County ranked No. 2, with 165 pedestrian crashes out of 153,923 total. In York County, there were 200, Androscoggin County 152 and Kennbec County reported 102. The rest all tallied fewer than 40 each.
Almost all of Maine’s 1,292 pedestrian crashes during the 2006-2010 time frame were either injury-causing or fatal. Of those, 1,226 resulted in personal injury and 56 resulted in death. Only 10 of those resulted solely in property damage.
Nationwide, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that on average, a pedestrian is injured every eight minutes.
In 2011, a traffic safety study indicated that approximately 69,000 pedestrians were injured, with 11,000 of those being children. That same year, there were a total of 4,432 pedestrian fatalities.
Last year, the NHTSA made available some $2 million in pedestrian safety grants to those areas with the highest rates of pedestrian deaths. Around the same time, that agency joined the Federal Highway Safety Administration in launching the “Everyone is a Pedestrian” campaign, offering tips for city planners, school officials and parents.
More recently, the Governors Highway Safety Association reported that after years of increases in pedestrian deaths nationwide, there appears to have been an 8.7 percent decline, at least in the first half of 2013 compared to the first half of 2012. However, Maine was one just a handful of states where the figures remained unchanged. In 2012, Maine officials reported 9 fatal pedestrian accidents.
While anyone who takes to the road on foot is potentially a victim, there are a few groups that tend to be overrepresented in the crash data. One of those is the over-70 crowd, which has the highest per capita death rate for pedestrians.
Also, evening and late night hours tend to result in the highest number of crashes. In 2012, 44 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Another 25 percent happened between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Several recent initiatives have been introduced in Maine to help combat the problem. City officials in Portland recently announced intentions to incorporate a “Complete Streets” model, a multi-modal approach to construction, renovation and maintenance of city roadways in a way that accounts for all users – not just motor vehicle drivers. Renovations have already begun on Franklin, Congress and Spring streets, as well as on Forest Avenue.
If you are the victim of a Portland pedestrian accident, contact us at 1-800-804-2004.
State of Maine, Pedestrian Crash History, 2006-2010, Maine Department of Transportation
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