A pedestrian is injured every nine minutes in the U.S. and is killed every two hours. Findings from a 5 year research study from the U.S. Department of Transportation find that surprisingly more pedestrian crashes occur within the marked crosswalk than unmarked ones.
This study identified several cities around the U.S., including two in California, in an effort to identify trends or obvious safety issues involving pedestrian vs. car accidents. The most interesting discovery was to find that pedestrian accidents occurred inside crosswalks in two-thirds of all cases. Additionally, when there is a crosswalk involving crossing of 4 or more lanes, the rate of accidents goes up substantially. Our experiences as an Orange County pedestrian accident attorney, mirrors the statistics. Very frequently, we have clients struck while crossing large streets more often than small ones.
Psychologically we may believe we are safer in a crosswalk, but data shows that we must be just as vigilant whether we are walking in a marked or unmarked crossing. Marked crosswalks give pedestrians a false sense of security.
Last month a jury awarded $12.2 Million to the family of Emily Liou, a young 17-year old girl who was severely injured while crossing at a marked crosswalk. Tragically, she sustained permanent brain injury which leaves her in a vegetative state. She will require extensive medical care for the rest of her life.
The California court found that Emily’s injuries were caused by both the negligent driver and Caltrans. The California Department of Transportation was found to have known that the intersection was hazardous and had several previous fatalities.
Liou family’s personal injury attorney’s worked hard for the family and proved that CalTrans put too much emphasis on vehicle safeguards and not enough on pedestrian safety. They had never inspected that crosswalk so were unaware of the inherent lighting issues at night as well as southbound vehicles not being able to visualize the marked intersection due to that fact that it lies at the crest of a hill.
The jury found CalTrans 50% negligent, the driver 30% and Emily 20% because she was listening to her ipod.
Transportation engineers are now designing more modern crosswalks and hopefully in the future we will have less pedestrian accidents. Planned communities such as in South Orange County are utilizing some high tech improvements to minimize pedestrian accidents.
Proven techniques for reducing accidents are:
• On multi-lane roads using raised medians; this makes it easier to cross the street as well as reduces car vs. pedestrian accidents • In certain high traffic areas, improved night lighting increases safety • Having an exclusive pedestrian break where all traffic is stopped during each signal period reduces pedestrian collisions by 50%. This allows more time for slower walkers as well as no right turn on red (RTOR) collisions.
• Marked crosswalks that illuminate flashing yellow lights that are more visible to drivers Lastly, both drivers and pedestrians need to watch for each other and avoid distractions.
We are pedestrian accident lawyers here to help you if you were a victim of this type of conduct. Call us at 1 866 981-5596 if you need help.