Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
When we think of pedestrian accidents, the first thing that comes to mind is illegal jaywalking when a person crosses the road in the wrong place and gets hit by traffic. Jaywalking is certainly a problem. It is the cause of the many pedestrian deaths in a major tourist city like Las Vegas, which has over 600 pedestrians killed each year. However, the more likely causes of pedestrians being hit are problems with the vehicle drivers.
In most cases, if a pedestrian is hit, the vehicle driver who hits them is the responsible party. The theory is that a driver has the last chance and the ultimate responsibility to avoid hitting people.
Here are the top reasons why a vehicle driver hits a pedestrian:
- Distracted Driving: Talking on a mobile phone or texting while driving is the top reason why a driver hits a pedestrian. It only takes a fraction of a second to look away from the road and hit someone. In most states, distracted driving is illegal. Certainly, if you are the driver of a vehicle that hits a person, your mobile phone records will be checked to see if you were using the phone at that same moment.
- Excessive Speed: Driving too fast is the cause of so many accidents. It is easy to drive too fast and not have the time necessary to avoid hitting someone. The reaction time necessary to apply the brakes and the stopping distance needed increases with speed.
- Impaired Driving: This used to be called “drunk driving.” Now, the phrase is “impaired driving,” which includes being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Besides recreational drugs, this also means prescribed medications. Any impairment must be avoided while driving.
- Not Giving Right Away to Pedestrians: Under CA Vehicle Code 21950, pedestrians in California have the right of way at any marked crosswalk anywhere or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. A good rule to follow is that a vehicle must stop to cross if a person steps off a curb at an intersection or crosswalk. Pedestrians do not have the right of way when they are breaking the law, such as jaywalking. Still, drivers must avoid hitting them.
- Failing to Stop or Yield: Not stopping at a light or a stop sign is a common way for pedestrians to be hit.
- Bad Weather: Any bad weather conditions, combined with all the other risks listed here, increase the chances of a pedestrian being hit.
- Left Turns: A driver may not see a pedestrian in a crosswalk when making a left turn.
- Backing Up: Children are most likely to be run over when a vehicle backs up, and the driver cannot see them.
- Night: It may be very difficult for vehicles to see a pedestrian at night, especially if they wear dark-colored clothes.
- Running Into Traffic: Young children are hit when they suddenly run out into the street, such as when chasing a ball.
The CDC reports that about 6,000 pedestrians are killed each year, and almost 140,000 are injured. If you or a loved one were injured or killed by being hit by a car as a pedestrian, contact your personal injury lawyer immediately for a free consultation by calling (281) 475-4535.