Crossing the street can be dangerous, even if you look both ways. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 4,280 pedestrians died in 2010. Many thousands more were seriously injured. Pedestrian deaths accounted for 13 percent of all traffic fatalities, and made up 3 percent of all the people injured in traffic crashes.
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? N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law § 1150 (Consol. 2002). Were you jaywalking or crossing in a designated crosswalk? N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law § 1152 (Consol. 2002). Did the car run a red light? If possible, you should try to find witnesses who can verify your account of the accident.
In general, pedestrians have the right of way when traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation. N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law § 1151 (Consol. 2002). If a child was injured running into the street, and if there is a school or playground nearby, McPhillips Fitzgerald & Cullum may be able to prove that the driver should 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, for example, it may be possible to hold the municipality responsible for failing to adequately maintain or repair the light.
Pedestrian Injury Data
- In 2010 in the United States, 4,280 pedestrians died from traffic-related injuries and another 70,000 pedestrians sustained non-fatal injuries.
- 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 2 hours, and one pedestrian is injured every 8 minutes.
- The situation is improving. The rate of pedestriant deaths decreased a decreased 13 percent over the ten-year period from 2001 to 2011. 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. Of the pedestrians involved, 33 percent had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher. Of the drivers involved in these fatal crashes, only 14 percent had a BAC of .08 g/dL or higher, less than two-fifths the rate for the pedestrians.
- Alcohol involvement — either for the driver or for the pedestrian — was reported in 47 percent of the traffic crashes that resulted in pedestrian fatalities.
- Children are at risk for pedestrian injuries and fatalities. In 2010, almost one-fifth (19%) of all children between the ages of 5 and 9 who were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians. Children age 15 and younger accounted for 7 percent of the pedestrian fatalities in 2010 and 23 percent of all pedestrians injured in traffic crashes.
- Older pedestrians (age 65+) accounted for 19 percent (826) of all pedestrian fatalities and an estimated 11 percent (8,000) of all pedestrians injured in 2010. In 2010, the fatality rate for older pedestrians (age 65+) was 2.04 per 100,000 population – higher than the rate for all the other ages.
- More than two-thirds (69%) of the pedestrians killed in 2010 were males. In 2010, the male pedestrian fatality rate per 100,000 population was 1.94 — more than double the rate for females (0.85 per 100,000 population).
- Nearly one-half (48%) of all pedestrian fatalities occurred on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (16%, 17%, and 15%, respectively).
- In 2010, thirty percent of the pedestrian fatalities occurred in crashes between 8 p.m. and 11:59 p.m.