Technically, a pedestrian accident is any incident that befalls a person walking, but in the context the phrase is usually used, it means an accident that involves a pedestrian and a motor vehicle of some type. Such accidents can occur when a car leaves the roadway and strikes a pedestrian who is walking on a sidewalk or the grass. They can also occur when pedestrians enter the roadway at any point.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, 14 percent of traffic-related deaths in 2011 were pedestrians involved in such accidents, and that number was up three percent from 2010. The majority of pedestrian deaths were related to incidents in urban environments, such as the downtown areas of California cities, and more incidents occurred at night and at parts of the road that were not intersections.
The NHTSA points to failure to obey traffic signals and laws, as well as inattentiveness, as reasons for pedestrian accidents. Both issues can be found on the part of motorists and pedestrians alike. For example, accidents are more likely to occur when pedestrians choose to cross the road at non-crosswalk or intersection areas; they are also more likely to occur when motorists don’t follow appropriate traffic signals and laws for coming to a stop or turning at an intersection.
Another reasons for these accidents is the use of devices and cellphones. Motorists who are paying attention to their phones may not see a pedestrian until it’s too late. Pedestrians who are walking near or on roadways while on their phones may not take appropriate precaution.
If an accident does occur, pedestrians are more likely to experience serious injury than the person in the vehicle. If injuries occur because of the fault of another party, injured pedestrians are able to seek compensation through a variety of legal means.
Source: Safety in Numbers, “Everyone is a pedestrian” Dec. 18, 2014