The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reports that a pedestrian is killed or injured in the United States every seven minutes. Here in Missouri, a pedestrian was killed or injured every six hours throughout 2011. In this post, our Columbia car accident lawyers share some startling facts about U.S. pedestrian accidents, along with a few tips to help keep you safe as you walk Missouri roads.
Pedestrian accident statistics:
• According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,280 pedestrians died and an estimated 70,000 more suffered injury in U.S. auto accidents in 2010.
• NHTSA data indicates that children and the elderly are have the highest risk of involvement in pedestrian accidents. In 2010, children under age 15 accounted for 7% of all pedestrian fatalities and 23% of all pedestrians injured in auto accidents. Meanwhile, people over age 65 accounted for 19% of all pedestrian deaths and about 11% of pedestrian injuries.
• Nearly ¾ of pedestrian deaths occur in an urban setting, and almost 80% of fatal collisions involving pedestrians occurred at intersections versus non-intersections.
• Surprisingly, weather does not appear to be a contributing factor to pedestrian accidents. NHTSA officials report that 88% of 2010 pedestrian deaths occurred in normal weather conditions, as opposed to rainy, snowy or foggy conditions.
• Time of day, however, seems to be a pertinent factor. Approximately 68% of 2010 fatal pedestrian accidents occurred during the nighttime.
• Alcohol use was a factor in 47% of auto accidents resulting in a pedestrian fatality, either for the driver or the pedestrian.
Safety tips for Missouri pedestrians:
• Make yourself visible. Take steps to ensure you can be easily seen by motorists who may be driving near you. Wear brightly colored clothing - and if you're walking at night, use reflectors, carry a flashlight, and try to stick to well-lit areas. Before you cross a street, be sure to stand clear of any obstacles (parked vehicles, shrubs, etc.) that might keep a driver from seeing you.
• Stay focused on what's happening around you. Watch for vehicles and be alert to what drivers are doing - avoid using a cell phone or wearing headphones. Never assume that a driver sees you, or that he or she will stop and allow you to cross. Additionally, keep your ears peeled for vehicle noises, like engines starting or backup alerts from larger vehicles.
• Always cross with care. Look both ways (left, right, then right again) before you walk into the street. If possible, use marked crosswalks or cross at intersections, and be sure to obey traffic signals. You'll also want to watch for vehicles that might be turning onto your street.