Crosswalks And Car Accidents: Pedestrians Are In Grave Danger
You know that you're supposed to cross the street at crosswalks. However, even if you're careful to obey the "Walk" and "Don't Walk" signs, you can still end up being the victim of a serious car accident. Here's what you should know about pedestrian injuries and crosswalks:
The Risk Of Injury Is Severe
If you're a pedestrian that's been hit by a car, the accident can be particularly devastating. With literally nothing to protect the pedestrian from impact, a car going only 40MPH is likely to kill the pedestrian over 80% of the time. Serious injuries can still occur at even much slower speeds. Anything much over 15MPH drastically increases the risk of traumatic injury and death to the pedestrian.
Auto accidents involving pedestrians are also far more common than people realize. On average, a pedestrian in the U.S. is hit by a car every 7 minutes.
Crosswalks Aren't Automatic Safety Zones
People often think that they are safe in crosswalks, but that's a false sense of security that won't protect you against a driver that's distracted or otherwise impaired. There are a number of reasons that crosswalk accidents occur:
- drivers are distracted by their cell phones, GPS devices, radios, or lunches
- people drive while intoxicated or under the influence of legal or illegal drugs
- someone tries to "run" a yellow light because they're rushing somewhere
- speeding drivers don't slow down for the crosswalk like they should
- drivers cut around other drivers who are already stopped for pedestrians
- people "rush" the light as soon as it turns green without giving pedestrians time to finish crossing safely
- some drivers are just tired, sleepy, or have cognitive delays due to age or illness
The Crosswalks Themselves May Be A Problem
Crosswalks themselves can be the source of pedestrian dangers. A poorly maintained, badly designed, or partially hidden crosswalk can deceive both pedestrians and drivers. A broken sidewalk or uneven curb can cause a pedestrian to trip and fall into the street before traffic can stop.
Crosswalk lights that change too quickly can also be a problem in many urban areas. In order to maximize efficiency, some crosswalks only turn green for pedestrians for a short period -- unless a pedestrian hits a "Walk" button before crossing. In at least one case, not hitting the "Walk" button allowed a pedestrian only 11 seconds to cross an 8 lane highway. The time increased to 50 seconds once the button was pushed. However, nothing was posted to indicate to pedestrians that there was such a dramatic difference.
In those situations, you may have reason to press a lawsuit against the city or the state's Department of Transportation and not just the driver involved, particularly if there have been previous accidents or complaints about that specific crosswalk.
Whatever your situation, if you or someone you love was hit by a car while in a crosswalk, talk to an attorney as soon as possible about your case.
A legal office like Palmetto Injury Lawyers can give you more information.