The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ranked California at the top of a deadly list. The recently released traffic report compiled figures for injuries and deaths involving pedestrians in 2010. Of the 4,280 pedestrians who lost their lives across the country, 599 were in California -- the highest number by far of any state.
Government officials said the statistics represent a 13 percent decline in fatal accidents from 2001. The numbers are less encouraging when compared to the 2009 pedestrian death rate, which was 4 percent lower than 2010. Pedestrian fatalities made up 13 percent of all vehicle-related fatalities.
The NHTSA studied the conditions under which pedestrians were killed or hurt. More than two-thirds of the victims were men. Eighty percent of the fatalities happened away from intersections and potentially protective crosswalks.
About 70,000 pedestrians were injured in traffic accidents in 2010 at the rate of one every eight minutes. People on foot were killed somewhere in the U.S. every two hours.
Poor weather factored into only one of every 10 pedestrian fatalities, although 68 percent occurred at night. About half of the accidents happened on weekends, including Fridays. In 47 percent of the deaths, the driver or the pedestrian had consumed alcohol.
NHTSA officials speculated about the troubling rise in deaths among pedestrians. Portable media players and cellphones are increasingly blamed for distracted driving, but transportation authorities think mobile technology may also be responsible for a disconnect between pedestrians and dangerous traffic conditions that surround them.
Authorities could not determine why more pedestrians were struck at non-intersection crossings. Some of the fault could lie with the way streets and roads are constructed and controlled compared to how pedestrians want to use them. When accidents increase or repeat, lawmakers and regulators are prompted to call for traffic studies that can provide safety recommendations.
When pedestrians are gravely injured as a result of an accident with a car, their families may have cause to file a wrongful death lawsuit if a driver's negligence is to blame. A walker or runner's death is more than just a statistic, after all, and the right personal injury attorney will understand the true weight of such a loss by fighting for the compensation a victim's family deserves.
Source: CNN Travel, "Pedestrian fatalities up 4 percent in 2010; non-intersection crossings most deadly," Jim Barnett, Aug. 7, 2012
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