2019 was a record high for pedestrian deaths in the United States; a pedestrian death occurred every 88 minutes. Pedestrians are more likely to be killed than people involved in automobile accidents. In addition to more than 6,500 deaths last year, more than 137,000 pedestrians received medical care in emergency rooms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Despite safety efforts, there was a 5% increase in pedestrian deaths over the previous year, and the numbers continue to rise. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation designated October as National Pedestrian Safety Month.
What Causes Pedestrian Accidents?
Many factors may contribute to or cause accidents with pedestrians. Some of the common reasons include driver distraction, speeding, and driving while impaired. Distracted driving has become a major concern over the last decade, as drivers use cell phones and other electronic devices while they are behind the wheel. In Wisconsin, state law prohibits drivers from texting while driving. Taking your eyes off the road for just a few seconds can cause you to collide with another vehicle or a pedestrian. Distracted driving is any type of activity that causes you to take your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road, or your mind off driving.
Most pedestrian accidents happen in cities and often they occur near intersections. In Wisconsin, pedestrians have the right-of-way at marked street crossings such as those with traffic lights or crosswalks. A pedestrian is any person who is traveling by foot, bicycle, or wheelchair, or other device. Pedestrians are not allowed on expressways or interstate highways. Generally, vehicles have the right-of-way in areas where there is no marked crosswalk or control.
The goal of National Safety Prevention Month is to educate drivers and pedestrians to reduce the number of accidents, injuries, and deaths. Pedestrian accidents are preventable and there are some things that both drivers and pedestrians can do to reduce the risk of accidents and stay safe. Pedestrians should remain on sidewalks. When crossing the street, cross only at a designated crosswalk and pay attention to the signals. Walk in areas that are well-lit and wear bright clothing and carry a flashlight at night. Pay attention while walking. Do not use earphones because you will not be able to hear traffic. Do not text while walking because it prevents you from being able to see vehicles.
Drivers should be aware of pedestrians and watch for them at all times. Do not use your cell phone or other devices while behind the wheel. Always yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk and be ready to stop if someone steps into the roadway. Drive no faster than the speed limit and pay particular attention to school zones, parking lots, and areas where there are children playing. Be cautious when you back up.
If you or a loved one was hurt in a pedestrian accident, the driver may owe you money for your injuries. You might be owed compensation for your damages such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Contact our experienced legal team at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. today online or by phone at (608) 784-8310 for a consultation.