When a tractor-trailer driver in North Texas reached down to pick up a cell phone while driving, he crashed into a pedestrian, killing her and traumatizing her cousin who witnessed the carnage. John’s work in 2014 on behalf of the witnessing cousin led to a pretrial resolution – the truck driver’s only option to avoid a devastating jury verdict. 13-cv-00070, Steinhilber v. Drive Logistics, Ltd., United States District Court, Texarkana Division.
Motor Vehicle Accidents Auto Pedestrian Accidents
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 6,283 pedestrians were killed in auto pedestrian-related accidents in 2018 alone, with more pedestrian deaths than any year since 1990. A pedestrian is unfortunately no match for a motor vehicle in the event of an accident, and even a minor incident can inflict serious and life threatening injuries on pedestrians. As the number of auto pedestrian accidents increases each year, drivers must ask themselves what they can do to ensure the safety of all who share the road.
Causes of Auto Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrians face many hurdles when sharing the road with motor vehicles. While cities can equip streets with pedestrian friendly infrastructure such as clearly visible signage and metered crosswalks, efforts fall short when drivers disobey traffic laws. The biggest threat to pedestrian safety, however, is distracted driving.
NHTSA reported a pedestrian death resulting from an auto accident occurred at a rate of one every 88 minutes. Driving while distracted is a modern day problem on roads and highways across the country. When drivers divert their attention from the road to other activities, they risk the lives of everyone on or near the road, especially pedestrians.
Distracted driving behaviors include:
- Texting while driving
- Talking on the phone
- Changing the radio station
- Checking social media
- Talking to other passengers in the car
- Eating and drinking
These behaviors may seem routine, but they can be deadly. While it may take only a few seconds to check a text message, a pedestrian could be crossing the street or walking alongside the road during that time period. Drivers who are not paying attention to their surroundings – including those on the road with them – will not be able to react or give a pedestrian enough time and space to safely cross.
No one, under any circumstances, should get behind the wheel of a vehicle while impaired; unfortunately, drivers put pedestrians’ lives at risk every year by doing exactly that. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 47% of all auto pedestrian-related accidents involved alcohol; 17% of drivers had a blood alcohol level at or near the legal limit. Additionally, most auto pedestrian accidents occur in urban areas at night.
Speeding is one of the most dangerous driving behaviors. When drivers speed, they not only accelerate their vehicles, they increase the potential damage and devastation caused by their reckless actions if they were to be involved in an accident. Due to the impact of force from a speeding vehicle and a lack of protection from the elements, pedestrians who survive being struck by a vehicle experience injuries such as:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Severe burns or road rash
- Deep lacerations or cuts
These injuries can dramatically reshape the course of a person’s life forever, all because of preventable driver behavior. Drivers who speed are less likely to leave sufficient stopping distance between their vehicle and others on the road, subsequently inflicting serious injuries or death.
Pedestrians rely heavily on their cities’ infrastructure to protect them and keep them safe while sharing the road with motor vehicles. Poor infrastructure fails pedestrians in various ways, including but not limited to:
- Unmarked or inaccessible crosswalks
- Non-metered crosswalks
- Lack of proper and adequate lighting
- Lack of sidewalks
Cities can improve the lives of many, including those without access to public transportation or other means of transportation, by ensuring pedestrian safety. When cities invest in quality infrastructure, they keep citizens safe.
Auto Pedestrian Accident Attorneys
Pedestrians deserve to safely walk and arrive at their destinations. Unfortunately, when drivers disregard traffic laws and fail to give pedestrians the right of way or yield to them, pedestrians are seriously injured and killed each year. If you or a loved one was seriously injured or killed due to an auto pedestrian accident, you may be entitled to compensation. There is limited time to act after an accident in Texas, so don’t delay in contacting seasoned auto pedestrian accident attorney John Flood to start working on your unique case today.