To date, at least one pedestrian accident has occurred each week in Los Angeles or Orange County since the beginning of September: an intoxicated tow-truck driver struck a mother and her two young children in an Oxnard crosswalk on September 1st; on the 2nd, a driver hit an 83-year-old man at a Pasadena intersection, stopped to pull him out from under his Mercedes Benz, and fled the scene, leaving the man in critical condition. On the 8th, the driver of an SUV rear-ended a truck that was waiting for a mother pushing her baby in a stroller and two other children to traverse a Huntington Beach crosswalk, sending the truck crashing into the group, killing the baby and seriously injuring the mother and one of the children. On the 10th, a 62-year-old Huntington Beach man died from the injuries he sustained when he was struck by a car while crossing an intersection.
“All of these pedestrians accidents share one factor in common,” explains an Orange County pedestrian accident attorney. “They were suffered by either the young or the elderly, the two age groups at the greatest risk of being involved in a pedestrian accident.”
In the United States, traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 3 and 14, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Of all traffic fatalities suffered by children in this age group in 2008, approximately 20% were attributed to pedestrian accidents. In that same year, for children between the ages of 5 and 9 who died in traffic accidents, one in every five was a pedestrian.
Individuals aged 65 and older, explains an Orange County pedestrian accident attorney, are also highly susceptible to being involved in a pedestrian accident. People in this age group accounted for approximately 18% of all pedestrian fatalities in 2008, more than any other age group, according to the NHTSA. In California, this age group accounted for 489 of the 3,434 traffic-related fatalities that occurred that year, or 14.2%.
In many cases, pedestrian accidents occur in intersections, where drivers frequently fail to yield to the right-of-way to crossing pedestrians, whether the crosswalk is marked or not. When drivers are attempting to turn at intersections, they are often looking out for other cars, not pedestrians; therefore, it is important for pedestrians to look left, right, and left again before crossing. If a vehicle is approaching the intersection, make eye contact with the driver to ensure that he or she intends on stopping. Vehicles parked along the street may obstruct pedestrians preparing to cross from the view of oncoming traffic; in these situations, pedestrians should treat the edge line of the parked vehicle as the beginning of the crosswalk, stopping there to check for oncoming traffic.
Pedestrians walking during times of reduced visibility-at night or early in the morning-should wear retro-reflective clothing and, if possible, carry a flashlight.
In instances where there is no sidewalk, pedestrians should always walk facing traffic.
Driver negligence is not the sole cause of pedestrian accidents. Many pedestrian accidents result from poor walking conditions, often as a result of the improper maintenance of sidewalks, street lighting, and crosswalks. Of the 52,482 people aged 65 or older treated in emergency rooms for nonfatal injuries between 2001 and 2006, more than 9,000 sustained their injuries as a result of poor walking conditions, according to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In such instances, the party responsible for maintaining public walkways-often the municipal government-may be held liable for injuries suffered in a pedestrian accident.
Pedestrian accidents are unexpected and can take a devastating toll on the life of the victim, as well as his or her family. The Orange County pedestrian accident attorneys at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis, and Leslie would like to wish the accident victims mentioned in this article a full recovery. They would also like to offer their condolences to the families of the individuals who lost their lives in pedestrian accidents.
Additional information on pedestrian accidents is available to the public free of charge, as are articles on car accidents, motorcycle accidents, and bicycle accidents.