Cars and trucks run over pedestrians more often than we realize. News reports are short, and they are buried among the headlines. But once in a while, a story jumps out, like the one from Jonesboro where two people were hit and killed, thirty feet from each other, but also hours apart. There are no details of the accidents yet, but clearly, there is a stretch of Tara Boulevard that is dangerous to pedestrians.
How Often Do Pedestrian Accidents Occur?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a report on pedestrian deaths in 2019, based on data from 2017, the most recent time period available. The report’s numbers are startling because they summarize only pedestrian accident fatalities. According to the NHTSA, in 2017:
- 5,977 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents.
- On average, a pedestrian was killed in a traffic accident every 88 minutes.
- Pedestrian deaths accounted for 16% of all traffic fatalities.
Nationally, Nevada had the highest proportion of pedestrian fatalities, at 29.4%, while North Dakota had the least, at 4.8%. Georgia ranked on the high side, at 16.4% of total traffic fatalities who were pedestrians.
Safety Reminders for Pedestrians
The report included many safety reminders. Some of the more important ones were:
- Walk on a sidewalk or path when there is one.
- When possible, walk facing traffic so you can see what’s coming.
- Don’t distract yourself with electronics.
- Make sure approaching drivers see you. Make eye contact to minimize the likelihood of a pedestrian accident.
- Cross streets where drivers expect pedestrians, at crosswalks and corners.
- Wear bright clothing during the day and reflective clothing at night.
- Remember that alcohol and drugs will affect your coordination and judgment.
The report also notes that most fatal pedestrian accidents take place between 6:00 and 9:00 p.m. and that one-fifth of the fatalities were children aged 14 and younger. Don’t let your kids go walking around in the evening, especially boys. Males constituted 70% of the pedestrians killed by vehicles.
If you or a loved one is hit by a car or truck, you should see a pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as emergency medical personnel have released you. It’s important to proceed quickly because 19% of the pedestrians were struck by hit-and-run drivers.