In spring, summer and fall, New York offers plenty of opportunity to enjoy a nice, long walk outside. During 2020, when many gyms closed down during the pandemic, many Americans embraced exercising outdoors, through walking, running or bicycling.
Unfortunately, pedestrians face the risk of being involved in an accident any time they can’t use a dedicated walking path or if they have to cross an intersection, crosswalk, or driveway or alley exit. Also, the number of pedestrians killed in vehicle accidents has been rising steadily in recent years. In 2019, 6,590 pedestrians lost their lives in vehicle crashes, the highest number in 30 years, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. In New York, about 15,000 pedestrians suffer injuries in vehicle crashes each year – 300 of those needing hospital care.
If you are among those who enjoy getting a daily walk in, you may wonder why vehicle accidents that injure or kill pedestrians have become so common. Here are some of the reasons why:
1. Drivers continue to drive distracted. If a driver is texting and driving, they spend about five seconds not watching the road. In that time, a driver easily can miss seeing a pedestrian crossing an intersection, crosswalk or entering the road.
2. Drivers are spending more time on the road. On average, a U.S. driver travels 13,474 miles each year. The more miles a motorist drives, the more likely they will be involved in an accident.
3. More drivers are speeding, even in residential areas where pedestrians are common. Speeding drivers often can’t slow down fast enough if they encounter an unexpected pedestrian.
4. More drivers are driving are driving heavier vehicles, such as SUVs and large pickups. Some supersize pickups now weigh 7,000 pounds, more than three Honda Civics. The more a vehicle weighs, the more force is involved in a crash. So, when a large vehicle hits a pedestrian, it carries more force and is more dangerous when it hits a pedestrian.
5. With more drivers choosing larger vehicles, these vehicles have larger blind spots. With a larger blind spot, it is easier for a driver to miss seeing a pedestrian nearby.
Those pedestrians who survive a vehicle crash often have devastating injuries – traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, neck and back injuries. They often need months of rehabilitative treatment to recover. They may have to pursue a personal injury settlement to get the compensation they need to cover their medical bills and lost wages.
That’s why it is imperative that drivers take the extra time to look for pedestrians in their path – to avoid driving distracted and double check their blind spot in areas pedestrians might be. No one wants to severely injure or take the life of someone out enjoying their daily walk.