According to national statistics, in a 10-year period, there were over 46,000 pedestrians killed in traffic accidents. Each year, almost 5,000 people are killed as they are walking to their destination. And the number of victims keeps increasing. The reality is that a person is more than seven times more likely to be killed as they are walking than from a natural disaster.
And despite the recent trend to blame the victims for these crashes, i.e. distracted walking, a recent study reveals that the cause of the majority of these accidents can be traced to the design of streets, highways, and transportation systems.
Smart Growth America released its “Dangerous by Design” report and found the way streets are designed and built plays a major role in creating dangerous situations for people who are walking. There are many streets without sidewalks or pedestrian crossings. And a common design for streets is to make wide lanes, but those lanes only encourage drivers to drive faster.
In spite of the safety risks of many of the nation’s streets, people still need to walk along them.
Per the report, southern states ranked the highest with the most dangerous walking areas, especially Florida. Eight of the top 10 most dangerous areas were located in that state.
When looking for the common factor that causes these areas to be so deadly for pedestrians, it becomes evident that all of these areas were built to specifically accommodate vehicles but not people. Most of these communities do not have crosswalks or sidewalks. Many streets in these areas are wide, with heavy traffic volume, making walking and crossing a deadly proposition.
Another area of concern addressed in the report is there are higher rates of pedestrian fatalities among racial groups. The pedestrian fatality rate for Native Americans is five times higher than for white Americans. For people of color that rate is almost doubled. Different states also showed disproportionate risks. For example, in Louisiana, people of color are nine times more likely to be killed in a pedestrian accident compared to a white pedestrian. Researchers say this is due to the years of disinvestment for communities of color in many areas, leaving extremely unsafe walking conditions.
Contact a Pedestrian Accident Attorney
This study is a strong indicator that states and municipalities need to come up with better and safer road designs. They need to remember that people in communities should be able to walk to their destinations without the worry they could be seriously injured or killed by a driver because of the town’s failure to provide sidewalks and crosswalks. However, until that is done, pedestrians are at high risk of being injured.
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, contact a law firm and meet with a pedestrian accident attorney for a case evaluation.