Safety For Walkers & Cyclists in New JerseyNew Jersey Legal News
Some people choose to have less reliance on automotive transportation, opting to walk or bike, either for recreation or as a part of their daily routine. This is sometimes seen as a cheap, healthy, and eco-friendly alternative. However, being a pedestrian or cyclist has comes with its own set of unique risks. 2018 had the highest rate of pedestrian crash fatalities recorded in the United States since 1990. In just the past decade, pedestrian fatalities have increased by nearly a third. Despite pressure from pedestrian safety organizations and local governments implementing policies to improve road safety for drivers and pedestrians, this trend has continued.
In order to adequately respond to the risks faced by pedestrians and cyclists on the country’s roadways, it is necessary to have an understanding of the many factors contributing to this increase in fatality rates. According to the Governors Highway Safety Associations, there are many potential causes, such as the kinds of vehicles on the roads, driver distraction, and impairment. These pose a significant risk to drivers and pedestrians alike.
Large Vehicles Pose a Risk
There has been a recent trend of American drivers choosing larger and more powerful vehicles, like pickup trucks and SUVs. These larger vehicles have a tendency to cause more damage when they hit an unprotected pedestrian or cyclist than compared to a smaller vehicle. These collisions ultimately result in more serious and life-threatening injuries.
The report from the GHSA found that, during the period from 2013 to 2017, pedestrian fatalities involving passenger sedans increased by nearly 30 percent, while pedestrian fatalities involving SUVs rose by more than 50 percent. As more of these large passenger vehicles hit the streets, a pedestrian’s chances of surviving a car accident have reduced significantly.
Driver Distraction Is Also at Play
Another contributor to the rise in pedestrian deaths as outlined by the GHSA is an increase in driver-distraction due to cell phone use. Drivers may not talk on their mobile phones as much as they once did, but an ever-changing array of new smartphone apps has provided endless ways of keeping drivers distracted when in the driver’s seat. Recent controversies involving Pokemon Go, Snapchat, and other apps in recent years have shown this to be more than true.
Using a cell phone in ways outside of having a conversation has increased astronomically as smartphones have become more sophisticated. In many ways, these uses of mobile devices in the driver’s seat are an even greater hazard, as they direct the driver’s attention away from operating their motor vehicle. Their hands are often removed from the wheel and their minds are wandering, causing them to lose focus of their surroundings. The combination of these forms of distraction — visual, manual, and cognitive — causes an increase of severe collisions.
Intoxication Is Often Involved in Pedestrian Deaths
The GHSA report also found that almost half of all car accidents ending in pedestrian death involved at least one party being intoxicated at the time of the crash. This could mean either the driver, pedestrian, or both parties were under the influence of alcohol. Due to efforts from public awareness groups, the risks of drunk driving are now widely known in public discourse. However, the hazards associated with alcohol impairment in pedestrians is not nearly as recognized. Impaired pedestrians have greater odds of misjudging the distance and speed of oncoming cars. Sometimes, they don’t notice traffic at all and could enter the road erratically.
Keeping Safe as a Pedestrian
To reverse this trend of rising pedestrian crash deaths, joint efforts on the part of drivers, pedestrians, and municipalities responsible for road maintenance are required. Many low-income areas lack sidewalks entirely, making pedestrians walk along the road. These areas experience a much higher percentage of pedestrian fatalities. Local governments should implement changes to their road maintenance and design in order to prioritize safety rather than optimization of traffic flow. Sidewalks and bike lanes help protect road users who are most vulnerable to serious injuries by keeping them separated from vehicle traffic.
Pedestrians can work to reduce their chances of serious injury by selecting routes with sidewalks when possible, by staying alert to what is happening around them, by wearing bright or reflective clothing, and by carrying a flashlight when visibility is poor. This can make pedestrians more noticeable to other drivers. When possible, pedestrians should cross at designated crosswalks or at intersections, and the;y should avoid entering the road between two parked vehicles. When trying to cross a road, and a crosswalk is not available, a pedestrian should cross at right angles to increase the benefits of peripheral vision.
Drivers have a duty of care to stay alert in the driver’s seat and drive in a reasonably safe manner. When a pedestrian is hit by a motorist who failed to comply with this duty of care, the injured pedestrian could be able to pursue lost compensation for his or her injuries associated with the crash. In the case of a fatal accident, the surviving family members of the victim may be able to seek damages through a wrongful death suit. An experienced New Jersey car crash attorney can help an injured pedestrian recover deserved compensation.
Pedestrian Injuries in New Jersey
Whenever a crash happens between a pedestrian and a motor vehicle, the pedestrian is going to suffer the most. An estimated 1,000 pedestrians are killed in traffic accidents in the United States each year. These crashes often result in catastrophic injuries for those involved.
Pedestrian crashes are caused by a host of reasons. Roadway conditions and driver behavior play significant roles. Whatever the cause, these crashes result in severe injuries, with pedestrians experiencing the brunt of the damages.
An experienced attorney at Brady, Brady, & Reilly, LLC can help you recover after a serious crash. Our team of qualified New Jersey pedestrian injury lawyers has been helping the residents of New Jersey recover deserved compensation since 1965. Contact our law offices today at (201) 997-0030 to discuss your case and see what options are available for you.