Which Pedestrians Are Most at Risk?
Pedestrian safety is a major concern throughout California. Negligent drivers, poor road conditions, and dangerous intersections can increase a pedestrian’s risk of colliding with a motor vehicle while walking in Bakersfield. Certain pedestrians are at higher risk of suffering a severe injury or dying in these accidents, including children, older adults, and joggers.
#1: Child Pedestrians
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 19% of all people killed in pedestrian crashes in 2017 were children aged 14 years and younger. Children are at such a high risk for pedestrian accidents for a number of reasons; they may not understand the rules of the road as well as adults, are smaller and can be easy for a motorist to miss, and may run into the street without warning.
Drivers must be vigilant when traveling through areas where children are present, such as school zones, parks, residential neighborhoods, and behind school buses. Motorists must honor the speed limit and if a school bus stops, they must also stop until all of the children aboard exit safely and the driver continues on his or her route.
#2: Older Pedestrians
Elderly adults are at a higher risk of pedestrian fatalities than many other age groups. According to the NHTSA, 20% of all 2017 pedestrian fatalities involved adults 65 years and older. Adults between the ages of 50 to 54 and 55 to 59 had the highest pedestrian fatality rate in 2017 at 21%.
Older adults are at a higher risk of pedestrian injury for a number of reasons. Many elderly people take walks around their neighborhoods for exercise, or rely on walking and public transportation to get from place to place. Elderly adults may also walk at a slower pace than other pedestrians, and impatient drivers may speed through intersections or make premature turns, leading to a collision.
#3: Alcohol-Impaired Pedestrians
Alcohol plays a large role in many traffic accidents, and drivers are not the only ones who are at risk. According to the NHTSA, approximately 32% of pedestrian fatalities involve a pedestrian who has a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.
Alcohol can impair judgement, coordination, fine motor skills, concentration, and memory — all of which can increase a pedestrian’s risk of an accident. In addition, pedestrians walking home while under the influence are likely to be traveling at night, and data from the NHTSA shows that the majority of pedestrian fatalities occur during evening hours. 30% of fatalities on the weekends and 20% of fatalities on the weekdays occur between 9pm and 11:59pm.
What Should You Do After a Pedestrian Accident?
The aftermath of a pedestrian accident can be overwhelming, but justice is available for victims of motor vehicle collisions. Under California’s fault-based insurance system, the at-fault driver in your accident must pay for the damages you suffered, which you can claim through his or her insurance or a personal injury lawsuit.
To preserve evidence in your claim, take the following steps after the accident.
- Seek medical attention immediately and save all documents from your visits.
- Call 911 and report the accident to law enforcement officers.
- Exchange contact details with the at-fault driver.
- Take photographs of your injuries and the area where the accident occurred.
- If there are any witnesses at the scene, collect their contact information.
- Speak to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Contacting a Bakersfield pedestrian accident lawyer to assist with your claim is one of the most important steps you can take for your case. Your attorney will guide you through the litigation process, represent your best interests in discussions with the insurance company, and help you secure a sufficient settlement for your needs. If you have not done so already, contact a California pedestrian accident lawyer.