When pedestrians are hit by thousands of pounds of steel moving at vehicle cruising speed, walkers, joggers, and runners frequently experience disabling injury or death. Negligent drivers constitute a life-threatening risk to pedestrians. While intoxicated, unreasonably careless, or distracted motorists threaten the safety of all travelers on New York roadways, pedestrians hit by cars, passenger vans, SUVs, buses, pickups, and semi-trucks are especially vulnerable. The weight of motor vehicles along with the force of impact from a collision often causes broken bones, spinal cord injuries (SCIs), traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and other permanent and life-altering injuries. While vehicle collisions pose a serious safety threat to all pedestrians, certain populations are particularly vulnerable.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), New York is one of the most dangerous states for pedestrian fatalities based on recent data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). Pedestrians account for a significant percentage of all vehicle accident fatalities in the recent year for which FARS data is available. The percentages are much higher for elderly, child pedestrians, low-income, and minority populations.
Child Pedestrians: The CDC reports nearly twenty percent of pedestrian fatalities to involve children under the age of 14. Young children lack the experience and maturity to fully appreciate the risk of following a pet or ball out into the street. Until children reach a certain age in their development process, they also lack the ability to perceive and analyze distance and speed relations accurately. These intellectual factors are compounded by the relatively small size of children that makes a childless visible when running out from behind a parked car.
Seniors: Adults at the other end of the age spectrum also experience a much higher risk of personal injury and wrongful death in pedestrian accidents. Seniors 65 and older face a fifty percent higher risk of being hit and killed by a motor vehicle than younger adults. Elderly pedestrians often have mobility limitations that can increase the time they need to cross the street. Diminished hearing, vision, or cognitive skills also contribute to the higher pedestrian accident rate among older individuals.
Low Income/Minority Groups: The policies implemented by government entities regarding pedestrian safety features have been highlighted as a factor in the higher fatality rate among minority groups. Dangerous by Design 2016 specifically notes metro areas that tend to have lower-income residents and higher minority rates experience more pedestrian deaths than higher-income areas. The report indicates that a lower investment in public funds toward pedestrian safety in these areas contributes to this higher injury rate.
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, a knowledgeable pedestrian accident attorney can outline your legal rights and discuss approaches to safeguarding these rights.
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