The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced that October is National Pedestrian Safety Month. With Halloween just around the corner, increased awareness of pedestrian safety is more important than ever.
Tainted candy has always been on the minds of parents during Halloween, but the real threat to children on Halloween is traffic. In a study reported in JAMA Pediatrics, researchers found that children ages 4 to 8 were ten times more likely to be killed on Halloween than they would during other fall evenings.
NHTSA’s statistics on pedestrian injuries and death reveal that 2018 was one of the deadliest years since the mid-1990s with 6,283 pedestrian fatalities and 857 pedal-cyclists deaths.
In Angie Schmitt’s Right of Way: Race, Class, and the Silent Epidemic of Pedestrian Deaths in America, she argues that pedestrian deaths are not just random occurrences or bad luck or random acts of God. She believes pedestrian deaths are part of a systemic problem and are influenced by policy (such as speed limits, zoning rules, public budgets), culture, vehicle design (SUVs) and technology (distracted driving/self-driving vehicles).
According to Schmitt, about every ninety minutes, a pedestrian is killed walking on a street in the United States. She also believes that the number of pedestrian deaths caused by distracted driving has been underreported.
Zendrive published one of the largest studies on distracted driving in April of 2017: “Zendrive Research: Largest Distracted Driving Behavior Study.” Over three months, researchers studied 5.6 billion miles, 570 million trips and 3 million drivers. They found that drivers used their cellphones during 88 percent of the 570 million trips they analyzed, with cellphone use every 3.5 minutes of every hour driven.
If you are trick-or-treating this Halloween, please be especially careful. In addition to all the warnings about walking on sidewalks, crossing with traffic signals, wearing reflective clothing, or using a flashlight, be extra vigilant and aware that drivers could be distracted by their cellphones. Stay safe.
Pedestrian accidents can involve serious injuries and fatalities. If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of accident, contact us at Vaage Law at (619) 338-0505. We have extensive experience handling pedestrian injury claims, wrongful death lawsuits, and other catastrophic injury claims.