Amidst ongoing concerns over COVID-19, there is another serious and potentially deadly public safety issue that is going largely ignored. Pedestrian injuries have risen dramatically over the past several years to the point of reaching epidemic levels. Experts claim that speeding, distracted driving, and an increased number of SUVs on the road is to blame.
Pedestrian Injuries Reach Epidemic Levels
A September 17, 2020 USA Today news report states that alongside concerns over COVID-19, the nation is struggling with a growing pedestrian safety crisis. The report cites statistics from leading traffic safety experts that show pedestrian accidents have reached a 28-year high. The following three factors are attributed to being among the primary causes:
- Distracted driving: Pressure to multi-task, increased family and work responsibilities, and concerns over politics and public health all make drivers more likely to be distracted today. While texting, talking on cell phones, or performing other tasks is obviously dangerous, even being somewhat preoccupied can increase pedestrian accident risks. Portland and other cities across the country have strict laws prohibiting distracted driving, but the report says in too many cases, these laws are not being adequately enforced.
- Speeding: Driving over the speed limit and going too fast for road, traffic, or weather conditions is a leading factor in pedestrian accidents. In addition to increasing the likelihood of collisions, speeding also increases the odds that pedestrian injuries will be severe. Other issues, such as not having lower speeds in areas pedestrians are most likely to travel and a lack of traffic lights at intersections, contribute to the problem.
- SUVs: Sport utility vehicles (SUVs) have become increasingly popular with consumers. While they can help reduce the injuries drivers suffer as a result of accidents, they put pedestrians at greater risk. The greater height of an SUV means they are more likely to hit pedestrians in the center of the body, where victims are most vulnerable. This height also makes it less likely for SUV drivers to see pedestrians, making accidents more likely to happen.
Protecting Yourself Against Pedestrian Injuries
The latest statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that close to 6,500 people suffered fatal pedestrian injuries over the course of 2018. This is nearly a 50 percent increase over 2010 figures. Even when pedestrian injuries do not result in death, they can lead to permanent disabilities. To protect themselves, pedestrians are encouraged to follow these steps:
- Choose walking routes that are well-lit and stay on the sidewalk at all times;
- Wear light, bright colors to increase visibility;
- Pay close attention to what is going on around you at all times;
- Never assume a driver sees you or will stop for traffic signals.
Let Us Help You Today
At the Johnston Law Firm P.C., we help pedestrian accident victims get the compensation they need to recover from their injuries. Call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Portland pedestrian injury attorneys online and request a consultation today.