While automobile accidents involving multiple passenger vehicles are often times serious and life-threatening, there are other types of crashes that typically pose more danger to involved parties. We’ve posted about the dangers of crashes involving automobiles and bikes, as well as automobiles and motorcycles, but perhaps the most dangerous type of wreck is that of a pedestrian-automobile crash.
Contact between a passenger vehicle and pedestrians walking or running on sidewalks, crosswalks, and near roadways are extremely dangerous for the pedestrian. While the automobile driver and passengers have tons of pounds of steel and protective material surrounding their bodies, pedestrians do not. Even if they were wearing protective clothing, it would do little to prevent significant injuries to themselves. Certain places in the world have recognized this significant danger and have begun implementing stricter guidelines for drivers, such as lowering speed limits and making pedestrian walking areas more visible. Sweden, for example, recently launched a campaign to aggressively educate citizens that pedestrians always have the right-of-way and that drivers will be held to a higher safety standard than they have been in the past. So far, the program has shown a decrease in the number of pedestrian injuries and deaths in Sweden. Unfortunately, while the United States has been successful using its resources to discourage drunk driving, the topic of pedestrian safety is not quite as high on the list of importance to drivers because the country as a whole has not made it a priority. Streets and highways in the U.S. are designed for speed instead of safety, which has led to over 676,000 pedestrian injuries and 47,025 deaths from 2003 until 2012. That is equal to about 5,000 pedestrian fatalities each year. From 2011-2012, the number of lives lost increased six percent. In total, traffic fatalities represented by pedestrians is at 12.3 percent for this recorded time period. These numbers are very disappointing, as the United States is one of the most technologically advanced in the world. Surely if more effort were exerted towards make pedestrians safer on roadways, the number of injuries and deaths would decrease, just as the number of drunk driving accidents have decreased since the beginning of the anti-drunk driving movement in the U.S.
Each year, the National Complete Streets Coalition performs a study called Dangerous by Design. It uses the PDI, or Pedestrian Danger Index, to rank the most dangerous cities for pedestrians across America. The report for years 2008-2012 shows Orlando, Florida as the most dangerous city for pedestrians. The next three cities are also located in Florida, while number five goes to Memphis, Tennessee. Number six is Birmingham, Alabama, and seven is the Houston, Texas metro-area. The most disturbing, but perhaps not surprising, city on the list is metro-Atlanta, ranking number eight. This metro-area consists of Atlanta, Sandy Springs, and our very own hometown of Marietta. The number of metro-Atlanta pedestrian deaths in automobile accidents from 2003 until 2012 is 839.
So how do we begin to correct this problem in our own community? By raising awareness of the dangers of distracted or intoxicated driving, and seeking to make it socially unacceptable to cause a pedestrian accident, the citizens of Georgia may be able to lower the number of pedestrian injuries and deaths in our state. By making drunk driving seem unpopular, the number of injuries as a result of intoxicated drivers lessened. Perhaps we can do the same thing for distracted driving, which is a common cause of pedestrian injuries.
In the event that you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian-automobile wreck, you may have a legal claim to compensation. Your medical bills will likely be high, as pedestrians are not protected in these types of accidents. It can also cause Georgians to miss work, and therefore earning potential. Jones & Swanson seeks to bring justice for you and fight for your rights. Our goal is to make the recovery process as seamless as possible for you, earning compensation to pay for your medical bills and loss of income from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. For a free consultation with an attorney, call (770) 427-5498 or visit www.awjlaw.com today.