With spring officially here in Massachusetts, we have more opportunities to walk to our destinations instead of driving. While it’s nice to be able to travel on foot in Melrose and Boston Metro Area, it’s more important now than ever to be mindful of pedestrian accidents. We covered what you should if you hit a pedestrian in our previous blog post here, and what you should do if you’re a pedestrian and you’ve been hit here. In this post we will outline the ways to prevent accidents in the first place. As Tramontozzi Law specializes in personal injury, we advocate for safety in these types of circumstances.
The new Governors Highway Safety Association report estimates that 5,984 pedestrians were killed in the U.S. in 2017. According to the National Safety Council’s (NSC) Injury Facts 2015 report, distracted walking caused over 11,000 injuries between 2000 and 2011. Of all the people injured in distracted walking accidents, more than half were aged 40 or younger.
Walking is the cheapest way to get around, in so many communities though it is not safe. It affects both the motorist and the pedestrian, since there is a perception that the pedestrian always as the right of way, this is not the case. Safe practices are required by both the motorist and pedestrian, neither has the right of way all the time.
What’s interesting is we have the technology in cars now that alert drivers to oncoming pedestrians and obstructions, but either people don’t use it or know how to use it, or are speeding rendering it ineffective. Speeding is also a contributor to accidents, and some states have lowered the limit to 25 mph while many still experience speeding which leads to accidents and fatalities. We have the solutions we just need the will to enact them.
Who is most at risk
As you’ll see below in the tips for drivers and tips for pedestrians, phone distraction by both the driver and pedestrian is contributing to these accidents and fatalities. Two distractions at once is leading to perfect storms in accidents. It’s simple, don’t walk or drive distracted by your cell phone. Even adjusting GPS navigation or hitting send on a voice message is distraction, and can only be done safely while pulled over on the side of the road.
Alcohol and drug use by both the motorist and pedestrian is also a huge contributor to these accidents. Even walking home under the influence can cause a person to wander off into traffic, so don’t walk home intoxicated. In addition, the elderly and children are at risk. According to the AARP, individuals 65 years and older make up about 13 percent of the population, but account for 21 percent of pedestrian deaths.
- Never use an electronic device or cell phone while driving
- Avoid alcohol consumption and driving
- Avoid drug consumption and driving
- You can encounter pedestrians anywhere, at anytime so be watching for them
- Do not assume the pedestrian sees (or hears) you
- Pay extreme attention at intersections, more accidents happen here
- Be careful when backing out of a parking spot.
- Understand the pedestrian laws in Massachusetts here
- Drive the speed limit
- Expect the unexpected, pedestrians can be walking in the street even in areas where they are not supposed to be
- Many accidents occur at night, be sure to drive with even more vigilance then
- Never use an electronic device or cell phone while walking
- Make eye contact with oncoming drivers to make sure they see you
- Be mindful of parked cars
- Look left, right and left again before crossing the street; looking left a second time is necessary because a car can cover a lot of distance in a short amount of time
- Be mindful of parked cars, the driver could leave without seeing you and without warning
- Look both ways
- Follow crosswalk signs/signals; do not cross when the sign reads “Do Not Walk” even if there is not oncoming traffic
- It’s much safer to walk on a sidewalk or path, if either of those is not available, walk on the shoulder, facing traffic.
- Children younger than 10 should cross the street with an adult
- Don’t assume the car will stop
- Focus on your surroundings, people, obstacles, objects around you when walking
- Never begin crossing an intersection until all vehicles have come to a complete stop.
If you’ve suffered in a pedestrian accident, either as a driver or pedestrian, you may be entitled to compensation. Don’t delay in contacting a personal injury attorney at Tramontozzi Law. Review our past blog posts on next steps to take here and here. We specialize in personal injury cases in these areas and will be your advocate to ensure you receive substantial settlement for your case. Get a free consultation when you call now 781-665-0099!