Although many Americans might try and forget this obvious fact of life, you can’t avoid the truth forever: driving is hazardous to your health. And even pedestrians and bicycle riders face risks from drunk, drugged, or otherwise distracted drivers.
As if relying on public transportation wasn’t difficult enough on its own, pedestrian injuries occur every seven minutes on U.S. roads.
The truth is, pedestrian injuries are so common that many personal injury lawyers even specialize exclusively in helping them. So what does the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration say about pedestrian injuries?
- According to the latest figures available, pedestrians were one of the only groups to experience an increase in fatalities on the road.
- In 2011, 4,432 people died from fatal pedestrian injuries, a 4% increase over prior years.
- Also in 2011, 69,000 non-fatal pedestrian injuries occurred.
- Children under the age of 14 accounted for 11,000 of all pedestrian injuries.
- Across all age groups, male pedestrians are more likely to be victims of common car crash injuries and fatalities. Even behind the wheel, men have comprised 70% of car crash fatalities for decades.
So what can we do to prevent pedestrian injuries?
Despite what your mother told you, the NHTSA says it will take more than looking both ways before you cross the street to prevent a further increase in pedestrian injuries. Officially, the NHTSA has released guidelines targeting children and senior citizens, but the organization also recommends that “Each State should develop and implement a comprehensive pedestrian safety program that promotes safe pedestrian practices, and educates drivers to share the road safely with other road users.”
If you’re the victim of common bicycle or pedestrian injuries this year, then do your best to note the license plate number of the car that struck you. And remember, it can take days for some injuries to become apparent, so take special care to see a doctor. And if you are injured, looking for a personal injury attorney should be one of your top priorities, because pedestrians always have the right of way.
No matter whether you bike, drive, take the bus, or stay at home while you wait for jet packs to finally hit the market, always put safety first.