pedestrian accidents in West Virginia

Pedestrian Accidents Could Increase During Coronavirus Shutdowns

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken our country to its core. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have tested positive for the virus, and tens of thousands have died from it. Millions more have moved home for the time being as countless non-essential businesses have been forced to temporarily close or limit their offerings.

Along with most other states, West Virginia has issued a “shelter in place” order, which limits movements outside of homes to only essential activities. Citizens have been asked to stay in their homes, and when they do need to go out, they are supposed to keep at least a 6-foot distance from others.

With most of us spending a lot more time at home, there are fewer vehicles out on the road. There are more big rig trucks and delivery vehicles out there, but there are far less people commuting to their offices. At the same time, however, there are quite a few more people going out for walks.

Walking is one activity that is allowed under the state’s “shelter in place” order, and with gymnasiums closed, it is one of the best ways for West Virginians to get their exercise. Going for a walk is also a great way to get some fresh air and enjoy the Spring weather.

The increase in walking traffic in West Virginia neighborhoods does pose a risk of more pedestrian accidents. And because pedestrians are not protected by a steel cage like motorists are, they tend to end up with more severe and catastrophic injuries. Because of this risk, it is very important for both drivers and pedestrians to be extra cautious and do everything possible to avoid this type of crash.

Tips for Avoiding Pedestrian Accidents

For Drivers

  • Avoid Distractions: Motorists have more distractions than ever these days, particularly those who are addicted to their smartphones. Texting while driving and similar activity is extremely dangerous, because it distracts drivers visually, manually, and cognitively. This can cause them to miss important details, such as a pedestrian crossing in front of them. Put your phone away when you drive, it is not worth risking a life to send or receive a text.
  • Follow Traffic Laws: Aggressive or reckless driving is a major contributor to many pedestrian accidents. When a motorist is driving too fast, for example, they have far less time to slow down or stop the vehicle to avoid a pedestrian. Running stop signs, going through red lights, and failing to yield the right-of-way are some of the other common causes of pedestrian crashes.
  • Stay Sober: Driving while chemically impaired slows reaction times and generally results in very poor driving behaviors, many of which put pedestrians in great danger. Refrain from drinking and driving at all times – the potential consequences of this behavior are just not worth it.
  • Look Out for Pedestrians: Motorists need to be mindful of the fact that there are more pedestrians out walking right now, and act accordingly. And as we touched on earlier, the bulk of this increase in traffic is happening in your local neighborhoods.

For Pedestrians

  • Be Visible: It is important to do everything within reason to make sure that drivers see you when you are out walking. This means wearing brightly colored clothing during the day and lightly colored or reflective clothing at night. Also, try to walk in areas where there is plenty of lighting, and try to make eye contact with vehicle drivers before crossing the road in front of them.
  • Be Alert: Smartphone activity can be a problem for pedestrians as well, and it can cause them to trip and fall and/or not see nearby vehicles. Having your headphones turned up too loud could also cause a pedestrian not to hear a vehicle that is behind them. Stay safe by limiting the use of your phone while you walk.
  • Follow the Rules: Be predictable and follow all of the rules wherever you are walking. Cross the road only at designated crosswalks or other places where crossing is legal, and always make sure that traffic is clear before you cross.
  • Stay Sober: Although the majority of alcohol-related pedestrian crashes involve a chemically impaired motorist, some also involve a pedestrian who is intoxicated. Alcohol impairs the judgment of both drivers and pedestrians, so do yourself a favor and stay sober when you walk.

Injured in a Pedestrian Accident in West Virginia? Contact Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. for Assistance

If you or a loved one suffered injury in a pedestrian crash in West Virginia, you may be entitled to compensation. Seek medical attention immediately and get in touch with an experienced attorney at your earliest convenience. Even during the midst of COVID-19, it is still very important to have your case evaluated so you fully understand your legal rights and options.

At Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C., we have over four decades of experience successfully representing West Virginians who have been injured in pedestrian accidents and those who have suffered all other types of personal injuries. We are taking all the precautions and following all social distancing guidelines brought on by the current pandemic, but we are still open, fully functional, and ready to serve you.

For a free consultation with one of our attorneys, message us online or call us today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979.

pedestrian accidents

Why are Pedestrian Accidents Increasing?

With spring just around the corner, the weather is starting to warm up in West Virginia and other Appalachian states. This means more people will be out walking to get some exercise and take advantage of the warmer weather. With the increase in foot traffic comes the heightened danger of vehicles crashing into pedestrians, which can result in serious injuries and fatalities.

On average, a pedestrian is killed in the United States every 88 minutes. And in recent years, the number of pedestrian accident fatalities has been on the rise. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that there were 6,283 pedestrian deaths in 2018 (the most recent year we have full records for), which was the highest number of deaths since 1990.

What is especially alarming is that pedestrian accident fatalities in 2018 were approximately 53% higher than the 4109 deaths in 2009, just a decade or so earlier. During that same period, all other traffic-related deaths were down by 6%. Pedestrian fatalities now comprise 16% of all traffic fatalities, which is up from 12% in 2009.

What is Driving the Increase in Pedestrian Accidents?

There are a number of factors that experts say are contributing to the rise in pedestrian accident fatalities, these include:

More People out Walking

One of the simpler explanations for why pedestrian accidents are increasing is there are more pedestrians out walking than ever before. Population growth accounts for some of this, but there are other reasons as well. These days, people are more health conscious, and they are also more conscious of the need to preserve a healthy environment. For this reason, a growing number of individuals are choosing to walk to work or walk to and from public transportation stops that take them to work. Many people also walk outdoors as their primary form of exercise in order to help them stay in shape.

More Vehicles on the Road

In addition to the increase in foot traffic, there has also been an increase in the number of vehicles on the roadways over the past decade. The economic recovery combined with lower fuel prices and easy access to financing has put vehicle ownership within reach for a larger segment of the population.

More Large Vehicles on the Road

The lower fuel prices and strong economy have also led to a growing preference for larger vehicles, such as SUVs, vans, and pickup trucks. For example, in 2013, only about 32% of vehicles on the roads in the US were SUVs. Today, that number is around 50%. Pedestrians have very little protection compared to others on the roads, and large vehicles can cause more serious and catastrophic injuries. In fact, the NHTSA says that SUVs are 2.5 to 3 times more likely to kill a pedestrian than a smaller vehicle. It can also be more difficult for the driver of a large vehicle to see a pedestrian, which increases the chances of an accident in the first place.

Electronic Distractions

In 2007, Apple introduced its first iPhone, and this was the first smartphone to be used widely by consumers. Since that time, several other brands have penetrated the marketplace with price points designed to fit virtually any budget. As a result, today, nearly everyone has a smartphone. And while having a computer in your pocket is great for staying connected, it is not so great for staying focused when you are driving or walking.

Texting while driving or sending other electronic messages while behind the wheel distracts motorists in three ways; visually, manually, and cognitively. The end result is that their focus is taken completely away from the road, causing them to miss important details, such as a pedestrian crossing the road in front of them. Smartphones can be dangerous for pedestrian to use as well as they may be too focused on their phones to watch where they are going.

Injured in a Pedestrian Accident in West Virginia? Contact Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C.

Pedestrian accidents can be some of the deadliest incidents that occur on the roadways, and in the vast majority of cases, a motorist is (at least partially) to blame. If you or a loved one suffered injury in a pedestrian crash, you need strong legal counsel by your side working hard to get you the full and fair compensation you deserve.

If your accident occurred in West Virginia, get in touch with Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. for assistance. Message us online or call our office today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 for a free consultation and case evaluation.