If you have recently walked down the streets of a crowded city, you might notice that everyone has their heads buried in their phones. Even crossing the street, people barely look up to see if there is an approaching danger.
That is new. Ten years ago people still looked around when they were near cars and streets. Not so much anymore.
And you don’t have to be in a crowded city to see that pedestrians’ habits have changed.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports a pedestrian was killed every 88 minutes in traffic crashes.
In Mississippi, that amounted to the death of 58 pedestrians in 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA.
Pedestrian crash deaths have increased 45 percent over the last decade and account for 16 percent of crash fatalities involving all motor vehicles.
In 2017, there were a total of 5,977 pedestrian deaths
involving motor vehicles of all sorts. The only good news to report was that
amounted to a 1.7% decrease that year in the number of pedestrians killed in
What Are the Dangers?
Pedestrian accidents with motor vehicles occur primarily in urban areas. Up to 80% of pedestrian deaths in 2017 occurred in urban areas. Compare that to 59 percent in 1975.
The most severe accidents are collisions with a vehicle and a pedestrian’s head, pelvis or leg. These injuries are the most common as pedestrians hit bumpers, hoods, or a windshield.
Pedestrians dying in a single vehicle crash were most likely to be struck by the front of the car.
The elderly population 70 years and up, is unfortunately the most likely to be the victim of a car collision, as are young children.
Alcohol use has also been found to be a factor. In 2017, up to 44% of pedestrians age 16 and older had a blood alcohol concentration in the intoxication range, compared to 61% in 1982.
Roads could be made much less dangerous for pedestrians if safety was made a priority.
According to the Insurance Institute, if there is a separation between the pedestrian walkway and vehicles such as sidewalks, islands, overpasses, and barriers, that greatly reduces the dangerous combination of pedestrians and vehicles.
As far as what pedestrians can do to stay safe:
- Walk on the sidewalk if one is available. Walk
- Keep your eyes on the road and off of your
- Cross the street at an intersection or crosswalk.
If there is not one available, choose a well-lit area where traffic can see you
and you can see traffic.
- Never assume that a driver sees you so wear the
brightest clothing you can and even reflective materials. At night use a
- Watch for cars that may enter a roadway from a
side street or parking lot.
- When walking, avoid alcohol or drugs and keep the
volume down on your headphones.
Driver Safety Tips
As a driver it is incumbent on you to watch out for pedestrians at all times.
When entering a crosswalk, slow down and be prepared to stop. If there are pedestrians in the crosswalk in Mississippi, they have the right-of-way and vehicles must stop or yield to the person on foot. Be sure you stop and give them plenty of room.
A vehicle approaching a pedestrian crosswalk should never overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.
It is obvious that you should never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. An estimated 33 percent of fatal pedestrian accidents involved a pedestrian with a blood alcohol indicating intoxication in 2016, according to NHTSA.
The same thing goes for texting while driving or even checking your phone. It is impossible to do two things well at the same time. Put the phone away when you drive or have a setting on that says you can’t take a message because you are driving.
Speed limits are posted near school zones and neighborhoods and they should be followed. Be particularly aware of a school bus stopping because that is where children are unloading and running for the bus, often not paying attention to cars.
About twenty percent of pedestrians killed on our roads in
2016 were the victim of a hit-and-run driver.
The lawyers at Reeves &
Mestayer understand Mississippi law and your rights and options. Call them for
a free consultation at 1-855-558-2977.