Crossing the street can be dangerous, even if you look both ways. According to the National Safety Council, 5,700 pedestrians died in 2002, and in 10 percent of those cases, the victims were crossing the street or walking in the roadway. Many thousands more were seriously injured.
Determining who is negligent in pedestrian cases can be tricky. Many factors must be taken into account: Were you paying attention to traffic when you crossed? O.C.G.A. § 40-6-90. Were you jaywalking or crossing in a designated crosswalk? O.C.G.A. § 40-6-91. Did the car run a red light? If possible, you should try to get witnesses who can verify your account of the accident.
In general, pedestrians have the right of way, unless they cross the street in non-designated areas or against crossing signals. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-91. If a child is the one who ran out into the street, and if there is a school or playground nearby, the driver may have been aware that children were in the area. This can be used to show the driver wasn't taking proper precautions to avoid an accident. In addition, it may be possible to show that the child wasn’t properly supervised or that adequate crossing assistance was not provided.
A third party can also be responsible in pedestrian accidents. If a crossing signal or traffic light malfunctioned, this may be able to be used to show that the municipality was responsible for failing to adequately maintain or repair the light.
Pedestrian Injury Data
- 5,700 pedestrians died in 2002. Since 1975, pedestrian deaths have declined from 17 percent of all motor vehicle deaths to 11 percent in 2002.
- Pedestrian fatalities are the second-leading cause of motor vehicle-related deaths, following occupant fatalities. Pedestrian-related fatalities account for about 13% of all motor vehicle-related deaths.
- On average, one pedestrian in the United States is killed in a traffic crash every 101 minutes.
- Hit-and-run pedestrian crashes account for one out of every six pedestrian deaths.
- The situation is improving. Pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people decreased 51 percent between 1975 and 2002 (from 3.5 to 1.7 per 100,000). Factors contributing to this decrease may include more and better sidewalks, pedestrian paths, playgrounds away from streets, one-way traffic flow, and restricted on-street parking. Some of the reduction is likely due to the decreasing amount of time Americans spend walking.
- Alcohol is a major factor in adult pedestrian deaths. In 2002, 53% of pedestrians age 16 and older killed in nighttime vehicle crashes had blood alcohol concentrations at or above 0.08 percent. Forty-two percent had no alcohol in their blood. In 46% of traffic crashes that resulted in a pedestrian fatality during 1998, either the driver or the pedestrian had a measurable blood alcohol level.
- Children are at risk for pedestrian injuries and fatalities. In 1998, children 15 years and younger represented 23% of the total population and accounted for 30% of all nonfatal pedestrian injuries, 11% of all pedestrian fatalities, and 18% of non-traffic related fatalities (this includes incidents in drive-ways and other non-public roads). Among children between the ages of 5 and 9 who were killed in traffic crashes, 25% were pedestrians.
- In 1998, adults 70 years and older comprised 9% of the population and accounted for 18% of all pedestrian fatalities. The death rate for this group, 4.57 per 100,000 people, is the highest of any age group.
- In 1998, the pedestrian fatality rate for males was more than twice that for females. Non-fatal injury rates for male pedestrians were also higher; the pedestrian injury rate, per 100,000 people, was 31 for males and 21 for females.
- In 1997, the pedestrian fatality rate for blacks was nearly twice that for whites; for American Indian and Native Alaskan populations, the fatality rate was close to three times the rate for whites. Researchers believe that these rate differences are due, in part, to differences in walking patterns. The Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey in 1995 found that blacks walk 82% more than whites. Environmental and socioeconomic factors are also likely contributors to these rate differences.
- More pedestrian fatalities occur on Fridays and Saturdays than on any other day of the week.
- Most pedestrian fatalities occur between 6:00 pm and midnight.
- Most pedestrian deaths occur in urban areas. Seventy-one percent of all pedestrian deaths in 2002 occurred on major roads, including freeways. In urban areas, 59% of pedestrian deaths in 2002 occurred on roads with speed limits of 40 mph or less. On rural roads, 74% occurred on roads with speed limits of 45 mph or more.
- 36% of pedestrian deaths among people age 65 and older in 2002 occurred at intersections. This compares with 20% for persons of other ages.
In all automobile accident cases it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the accident in question, and to enable physicians or other expert witnesses to thoroughly evaluate any injuries. If you or a loved one is a victim of an automobile accident, call Law Office of Donald P. Edwards now at 404-526-8866 or CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A SIMPLE CASE FORM. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don’t delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.