By: Basch & Keegan
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Pedestrian Safety in Wake of Recent Pedestrian Fatalities
Deaths among pedestrians are one of the few types of roadway fatality that tends to remain steady or even increase from year to year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 14% of all traffic accident fatalities are pedestrians. Of all pedestrian deaths in 2013, four states accounted for 43% of all pedestrian deaths, and one of those four was New York.
While many accidents with pedestrians are caused by a driver’s negligence, pedestrians bear a responsibility to guard their own safety, as well. In fact, alcohol plays a prominent role among those pedestrians fatally injured in accidents. 36% of all fatally-injured pedestrians over 16 years old had blood alcohol levels that surpassed the legal limit, and in 47% of all accidents where a pedestrian died, either the driver or pedestrian were intoxicated. As a driver, be careful to allow a pedestrian who is stumbling or moving erratically a wide berth as you pass, and call the police to report the individual if they appear to be a danger to themselves.
Tips for drivers and pedestrians
Drivers should exercise great caution when they see a pedestrian walking along the road where sidewalks may not be available. Prepare to stop when driving through an intersection where pedestrians may enter the crosswalk, and scan carefully when approaching a marked crosswalk not at a traffic signal. Be especially careful to scan the road for pedestrians in poor weather and at night, as 1/3 of all fatally-injured pedestrians were killed between 8pm and midnight, and there is also a greater likelihood that those pedestrians will be intoxicated and will behave unpredictably. As a pedestrian, the most important thing you can do to preserve your safety is to follow the rules of the road. Stay on the sidewalk, cross at intersections, and obey traffic signals. Don’t allow texting or talking on the phone to distract you from watching other drivers on the road. Ensure that you’ve made eye contact with drivers before walking in front of them. If you do have to walk at night, wear bright colors or clothes with reflective material.
Two recent incidents in the Hudson Valley point to the necessity of greater caution around pedestrians. A 26-year-old Poughkeepsie man was killed when walking along U.S. Route 9 in Wappingers Falls. At around 11:00pm on Sunday, October 25, the man was described as stepping off the sidewalk and into traffic. Two different drivers were unable to avoid hitting the man. In another incident, a 73-year-old woman from Walden was crossing Route 32 in Newburgh at approximately 7:00pm on Monday, October 26 when she was struck by a driver. Police are not currently pressing charges against the driver, but they are continuing to investigate the incident.
If you have been injured in an accident as a pedestrian or driver in Albany, Poughkeepsie, or Kingston, contact the seasoned Hudson Valley personal injury attorneys at Basch & Keegan for a consultation on your claims, at (845) 338-8884.