Walking is a natural part of living. Not only do roughly 9 percent of households lack access to a vehicle, but the CDC recommends people walk at least 150 minutes per week to maintain their health. So, it’s not surprising that New Orleans is packed with pedestrians on their way to the gym, home, work, or one of New Orleans’ fantastic sights. In fact, roughly 5 percent of people in NO walk to work every day. There’s nothing better than a walk in the sunshine with the cool breeze hitting your face. But what happens when that walk turns into a nightmare? Every year, thousands of pedestrians are injured in car accidents. And this single moment can change the lives of both the driver and the pedestrian.
What Causes Pedestrian Accidents?
According to findings from the Governors Highway Safety Association, pedestrian accidents are at a 30-year-high. Every day, a pedestrian is involved in an automobile accident, and many are injured as a result. On Louisiana roadways, 1,143 people were injured last year — despite 2020 setting a record low in overall traffic. The truth is: pedestrian accidents are far too common in Louisiana, and these accidents can completely change a person’s life in an instant. But what’s causing all of these pedestrian accidents?
Here are the top 5 causes of pedestrian accidents in the state of Louisiana.
1. Distracted Driving
Each year, over 390 thousand drivers are injured due to distracted driving, and cell phone use alone leads to 1.6 million crashes annually. Distracted driving comes in many shapes and sizes, including:
- Talking to passengers
- Using onboard entertainment or nav systems
- Reading maps
- Checking yourself in the mirror
- Adjusting various vehicle components (e.g., seats, mirrors, etc.)
- Looking at outside distractions such as other wrecks, billboards, or funny license plates
- Helping children in the back seat
- Going through personal belongings
All of these distractions impede a driver’s ability to access the road, react to hazards, and visualize dangers. For example, the CDC estimates that taking your eyes off the road to read a text message takes an average of five seconds. If you’re traveling 55 mph, you will travel the length of a football field before you look at the road again. In fact, some studies suggest that one in four car accidents are a direct cause of texting. Unfortunately, despite 94 percent of drivers admitting that texting and driving is dangerous, 35 percent of them do it anyway. Believe it or not, distracted drivers are 6x more likely to cause an accident than those driving while intoxicated. Since 2005, the number of pedestrians killed by distracted driving has significantly increased, and it continues to increase each year. When drivers are distracted, they often fail to see pedestrians crossing — which can lead to collisions, injuries, and even death.
2. Driving While Intoxicated
Every 2 minutes, someone is injured in a drunk driving accident. Alcohol or drugs impair judgment, impact bodily functions, and decrease alertness. This goes for both drivers and pedestrians. Believe it or not, there are over 111 million self-reported episodes of intoxication while driving each year. But the average drunk driver will drive at least 80 times before getting caught. In fact, impaired driving is so prevalent that 2 in 3 people will be involved in a drunk driving accident in their lifetime.
When a pedestrian or driver is impaired, they often make poor decisions. If you were involved in a pedestrian-related accident and suspect drugs or alcohol contributed to the incident, contact a local attorney to discuss your situation.
3. Jaywalking & Dark Clothing
You should always use a crosswalk when crossing the street. Unfortunately, crosswalks aren’t always readily available, and research suggests that most people will only walk as far as 300 feet to reach a local crosswalk. Chances are, most drivers pay attention to crosswalks, but some fail to notice pedestrians jaywalking across the street. In addition, wearing dark clothing at nighttime can make someone difficult to spot. Most pedestrian-related accidents occur at non-intersections during the night.
The combination of jaywalking and dark clothing during the nighttime is particularly dangerous. Often, crosswalks are illuminated enough to help drivers spot pedestrians in the dark. Pedestrians crossing in non-intersection at night can be particularly difficult to spot — especially if they’re wearing clothing that further conceals them. It’s incredibly important that drivers always keep their eyes open for pedestrians. Certain situations (e.g., construction, broken signage, damaged crosswalk signals, etc.) can force pedestrians to cross in awkward places. Always be observant.
The faster a vehicle is going, the less control that driver has over the vehicle. According to the CDC, speeding minimizes vehicle control, reduces the effectiveness of protective equipment, increases stopping distance, and increases the severity of accidents. Speeding is particularly dangerous around intersections. Braking distance is 16 times further for vehicles traveling 80 mph than vehicles traveling 20 mph. Not only does speeding make it more difficult to actually perceive dangers, but the vehicle itself will take longer to come to a complete stop. Never speed around intersections.
5. Poor Weather
Rainy days and ice storms can impede vehicle effectiveness. Twenty-one percent of all vehicle accidents are a result of bad weather, and weather-related driving accidents injure hundreds of thousands of individuals annually. Adverse weather (e.g., snow, fog, wind, rain, sleet, etc.) also causes environmental issues (e.g., snowy roads, wet pavement, etc.) that double the dangers of driving. Both drivers and pedestrians should be extra alert during poor weather. It only takes a locked pair of brakes to cause a serious incident.
Were You Involved in a Pedestrian Accident?
Car accidents involving pedestrians are some of the most dangerous types of accidents on the roadway. Unfortunately, they’re far too common, and they can disrupt your life. Many victims of pedestrian accidents deal with physical injuries and mental health problems. Hospital bills, lost work time, and mental health bills can cause a significant amount of stress in your life. You may deserve compensation. At AKD, we specialize in helping victims of car accidents get the compensation they deserve. Contact us online or at 504-200-0000 for a free consultation.