Driver Awareness of Pedestrians Helps Avoid Injury
As the long, cold winter comes to an end, Indiana residents are emerging from the comforts of home and work and traveling by foot rather than car. This increase in the number of pedestrians is bad news for traffic injury rates, however, as drivers must once again adjust to watching for people on the roads.
On a national level, the number of pedestrian fatalities dropped by 8.7 percent during the first half of 2013. This was the first decrease in four years and shows that efforts to educate the public on pedestrian safety may be paying off.
Indiana is one of the states where pedestrian fatalities rose in 2013, with 35 fatalities compared to only 27 during the same period in 2012. Those numbers tend to be higher in warmer climates, however, and with the first half of 2013 being milder than some other winters, there may have simply been more warm days than other years. A longer spring means more days of residents traveling by foot rather than cars.
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The Urban Connection
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) connects higher fatalities with states with large urban centers that attract significant populations. Indiana is rich with parks and pedestrian walkways that encourage residents to go for afternoon strolls or walks to nearby attractions.
Some states have instituted stricter enforcement of laws designed to safeguard pedestrians. Attention has been shifted to enforcing jaywalking laws, for instance, as enforcement officers see the pedestrian dangers that are related to letting these laws slide. In other states, officers are now working hard to cite drivers of vehicles who fail to yield to pedestrians. If the threat of injuring someone doesn’t slow a pedestrian down, it’s highly possible fear of a ticket will.
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Safety Tips for Drivers and Pedestrians
Drivers should always be on the lookout for pedestrians, even on busy streets. When someone is spotted on foot, a driver should always slow down and, if possible, move over a lane to provide a safer distance. Even a pedestrian who seems steady on his feet could suddenly trip or lose his balance and veer into traffic.
For pedestrians, it’s important to observe designated walking areas and always be on guard for vehicles. Wear bright clothing and maintain as safe a distance as possible from the roadway where vehicles are traveling. If walking is merely for exercise, consider using a walking path or greenway located away from traffic to prevent the risk of vehicular injury entirely.
In the event an accident should occur, it’s important to receive medical help immediately. Help the injured pedestrian move away from any danger and do not attempt to administer CPR unless life-saving measures are necessary. In that case, an emergency operator may be able to walk you through it if you’re unfamiliar with the technique.
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As a driver, it’s important not to admit fault or engage in excessive conversation with bystanders. Simply exchange contact information and work through your insurance to resolve. In some cases, legal representation may become necessary. Each state has its own laws when it comes to pedestrian injury, so it’s important to find an attorney who is familiar with those laws. Sevenish Law Firm has special experience in cases of pedestrian injury. If you have questions, contact us today.