Walking is a great form of exercise and transportation. In fact, most people consider walking to be a safer alternative to driving, however, two recent reports indicate pedestrians may not be as safe as they once were.
A report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association reveals that traffic-related pedestrian deaths increased 33 percent in Texas from 2015 to 2016. The nationwide increase was just 7 percent.
Another report by Smart Growth America recently ranked Houston as the 15th most dangerous city for pedestrian danger. Dallas-Fort Worth ranked 25th, San Antonio ranked 28th, and Austin ranked 47th.
Why have pedestrian deaths risen so dramatically? There are several factors at play:
- Distracted drivers: Drivers are more distracted than ever. When they should be paying attention to driving, they are texting, checking email, using apps, taking photos and videos, and engaging in other forms of distracted driving. While pedestrians or bicyclists are using a crosswalk, drivers may or may not see them.
- Distracted walkers: It’s never been more important for pedestrians to pay attention to their surroundings when crossing streets. But pedestrians often look at their phones while walking and many have their headphones on. Inattentive drivers and inattentive pedestrians are a dangerous combination–especially for pedestrians. Pedestrians who are hit by a car going 20 miles per hour have a 10 percent chance of dying. Pedestrians who are hit by a car going 40 miles per hour have an 80 percent chance of dying.
- Drunk drivers and drunk pedestrians: Most people are aware of the dangers of drunk driving. Drunk driving accounts for approximately 15 percent of pedestrian deaths. But, a more shocking statistic is that 34 percent of pedestrians killed were legally drunk themselves. For example, drunk pedestrians are more likely to make poor decisions about crossing the street.
Remember: We all need to work together to reduce pedestrian-related traffic accidents. Drivers should take a zero-tolerance approach to distracted driving. Pedestrians need to pay attention to their surroundings while crossing streets, running, bicycling, etc. Together we can work to reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities in Texas and throughout the country.
Free consultation: If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident and wish to speak to an attorney about your legal options, please call Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner at 800-594-4884.