- Official numbers from the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) show there were 5,977 pedestrians killed in U.S. traffic crashes in 2017.
- 156 pedestrians were killed in a Michigan traffic accident or crash in 2017, 28 of which occurred in the urban communities of Detroit.
- A preliminary report published by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), shows the number of pedestrians killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2018 had increased to 6,227.
- Pedestrians and drivers alike can strengthen their traffic safety knowledge and reinforce safety habits by merely staying alert, sober, and obeying traffic laws and speed limits.
How Pedestrian Accidents Happen
On average a pedestrian was killed every 88 minutes in a traffic crash in 2017. And early 2019 findings published by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) projects a four percent increase from 2017 representing the most significant number of pedestrian fatalities in nearly 30 years. Many factors contribute to pedestrian accidents caused by motor vehicles including distracted driving, speeding, changes in road patterns, a shift in SUV and light truck use, and generally, the more considerable amount of time people now spend outdoors commuting, exercising and walking.
Some of the most common causes in a vast majority of pedestrian accidents are:
- Improper Lane Use
- Unmarked Crosswalks
- Left-Hand Turns
- Electronics, Mobile Phone Use, and Texting
- Quiet Cars
- Larger SUVs
- Dark Clothes
- Alcohol and Drugs
- Arterial Roads
- Construction Zones
Pedestrian accidents can happen on any roadway including intersections, parking lots, roadsides and shoulders, parking lanes and no parking zones, bicycle lanes, sidewalks, medians and crossing islands, driveway accesses, shared-use paths or trails, and even in non-traffic way areas.
Safe Pedestrian Walking Is Important
Nearly 1 of every five pedestrians killed in 2017 were struck in crashes that involved hit-and-run drivers, and about 75 percent of those pedestrian fatalities occurred in the dark. More pedestrian fatalities occur in urban areas than in rural areas. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) suggests pedestrians can reduce their risk of accident and injury by:
- Carrying a flashlight when walking and by wearing retro-reflective clothing.
- Whenever possible, cross the street at a designated crosswalk or intersection.
- It is much safer to walk on a sidewalk or path, but if a pavement or traffic clear path is not available, walk on the shoulder and facing traffic.
- Keep alert at all times; don’t be distracted by electronic devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road.
- Be predictable. Follow the rules of the way and obey signs and signals.
Also, one in every three fatal pedestrian crashes involves a pedestrian with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 grams per deciliter (g/dL). Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking as they impair a walker’s abilities and better judgment.
Negligent Drivers Can Be Held Responsible for Pedestrian Injuries
Operators of motor vehicles should be reminded that they are not the only road users. Pedestrians are crossing streets on their way to work, while out exercising and walking but also sharing paths with cars and trucks in parking lots and near major intersections. And these unprotected people are far more vulnerable to death in a crash than drivers and passengers of passenger vehicles and at risk of greater injury. The Lee Steinberg Law Firm urges motorists to follow these general, common-sense road safety rules to avoid a crash involving a pedestrian.
- When sharing the road with pedestrian traffic, make sure to leave enough room, so the walkers are not endangered. Similar to passing bicycles, use five feet (or more) as a safe clearance range.
- When approaching an intersection, keep alert and look twice for pedestrians. Be courteous and allow them to clear the intersection safely.
- Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. They may be stopped to allow pedestrians to cross the street.
- It is crucial to be extra vigilant in left-turn lanes. Left turns present a higher risk for crashes because it may be easier for motorists to overlook pedestrians due to their smaller size.
- Use your horn if you see pedestrians participating in unsafe behaviors like texting while walking, talking on their phones, or generally not paying attention. Giving a honk towards someone crossing a dangerous path while carrying bags or a child in front of their line of sight could help prevent an injury and save a life.
- Drivers should look for people when backing out of parking spaces or going through parking lots. Check your mirrors and use back-up cameras before beginning the backing out process.
Luckily in 2018, the state of Michigan was one of 23 U.S. states to see a decline in pedestrian deaths, mostly contributed to years of commitment to combat the issue using engineering, education, and enforcement. Michigan has also implemented a variety of measures to improve pedestrian safety, including law enforcement training, public education, Road Safety Audits (RSAs), a Work Zone Mobility Manual, and developed Complete Streets policies.
But even with all of these said improvements, 156 pedestrians across the state were killed in traffic accidents and crashes in 2017, 28 of which were in Detroit.
Drivers and pedestrians alike need to follow the traffic laws and speed limits, stay alert, obey signage, travel in the right lane, and avoid distractions like texting or eating.
Contact the Experienced Michigan Pedestrian Accident Injury Attorneys
Working with insurance companies to ensure you get the compensation you deserve can be frustrating and confusing. We want to help. Our attorneys at The Lee Steinberg Law Firm have represented accident victims for over 40 years and are experts in these cases. If you or a loved one were the pedestrian involved in a car crash caused by a negligent driver, our Michigan personal injury attorneys will fight to ensure you receive the compensation and benefits you deserve.
Please call Lee Free at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form. And remember, you pay nothing until we settle your pedestrian accident case.
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic Safety Facts 2016 Data: Pedestrians. S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC; 2018. Available at https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812493. Accessed 29 June 2019.