Pedestrian accidents are up. Each year approximately 4,800 pedestrians are killed – that’s one pedestrian killed every two hours in the U.S. While the injuries and fatalities affect all ages and both genders, the average age of a pedestrian killed in traffic is 46. Males accounted for 70 percent of the fatalities.
Drivers and pedestrians both are to blame and both can be more responsible for pedestrian safety.
So what is being done about it? The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), organization representing state highway safety agencies, has stepped up safety and education efforts. They are emphasizing how drivers and pedestrians can take action by learning about what causes pedestrian fatalities and accidents, and then hopefully use that new awareness to change their behaviors.
What you can do (or not do) to prevent pedestrian accidents
The GHSA has come up with a list of dos and don’ts for pedestrians and drivers in the hope that this information will help keep pedestrians safer.
The top causes of pedestrian accidents caused by DRIVERS are alcohol, speed and distraction.
- Never drink and drive. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 15 percent of the motorists who fatally struck pedestrians had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher.
- Don’t speed. The faster a vehicle is going, the higher the risk of serious pedestrian injury.
- Keep your mind focused on driving only. Although cell phones provide an enormous distraction, 76 percent of all distraction-affected crashes in the past few years are from other sources (talking to passengers, putting on makeup, daydreaming, or reaching for something in the vehicle).
The top causes of pedestrian accidents caused by PEDESTRIANS are alcohol and distraction.
- Do not drink and walk. An intoxicated person who decides to walk home instead of driving is on the right track, but it does have its own risks. Over the past few years, 36 percent of the pedestrians 16 years of age and older who were involved in fatal crashes had a BAC of 0.08 or higher. It might be better to take a taxi.
- Do not walk with headphones, and if you must walk and talk, look up frequently from your cell phone. In 2004, less than 1 percent of pedestrians were killed while they were using a cell phone. By 2010, it was 3.6 percent. Most people think they can multitask, but a Pew Research study found that 53 percent of adult cell phone users who were talking on a cell phone while they were in motion were either bumped into or bumped into someone or something. The danger is real. Your walking pace gets slower when you talk on the phone or text, and you naturally become less aware of traffic.
- At the very least, take off your headphones and stop talking on your cell phone when crossing the street.
The formula for making pedestrians safe is very, very easy. Drivers, don’t drink and drive, don’t speed, and don’t get distracted. Pedestrians, don’t fall prey to all the distraction of headphones and cell phones, and don’t walk anywhere when intoxicated. If drivers and pedestrians follow these simple rules of the road and the walkways, many lives will be saved.
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Photo courtesy of Green Lane Project/CC0 Public Domain
Source: NHTSA and Edmunds.com