According to a Federal Highway Administration 2005 report, 107.4 million Americans consider walking to be a substantial part of how they travel.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that from 1997 to 2006 there were 49,128 pedestrian fatalities, accounting for 12 percent of all traffic-related deaths. Estimates show that the pedestrian was in a crosswalk for one-third of these deaths.
Burden of Proof
An article in the Bay Citizen highlights the lack of prosecution in the San Francisco bay area for drivers who injure or kill pedestrians. In the Bay Citizen’s article by Zusha Elinson, prosecutors point to the difficulty to meet the burden of proof as a factor.
How Unprotected are Pedestrians?
A person out for a walk is on the losing end of the scale when struck by a one and a half ton moving vehicle. Factors cited in most police reports include not seeing the pedestrian, speed, and impaired or distracted driving.
To establish more responsibility for vehicular collisions involving unprotected pedestrians, some states are working to enact laws to protect the unprotected. These states, such as Oregon, are passing vulnerable user ordinances to protect pedestrians. These laws put in place additional penalties for reckless drivers that include community service, driving school, fines, and/or license suspension.
Working for Walkers
Several groups have been working to change the American mindset from considering pedestrian-related vehicular collisions a minor offense. In the 1980’s, Mothers Against Drunk Driving brought the issue to national attention, while organizations such as California WALKS continues to promote pedestrian safety and walkable communities today.
By seeking stiffer penalties for drivers who injure or kill pedestrians and creating safe walking conditions, the goal is to make sure these “accidents” are no longer considered a minor offense.
Have you been seriously injured in a pedestrian accident in our area? Our experienced Tampa injury attorneys may be able to help.
The unfortunate fact is that pedestrian injuries caused by automobiles often goes without penalty. Family members or the victim themselves may need assistance in seeking compensation for injuries or death.
If you’ve been seriously hurt due to the negligence of an irresponsible driver in our area, it may be helpful to seek out the advice of a Tampa personal injury lawyer. Call Abrahamson & Uiterwyk today at 1-800-753-5203 for a free initial consultation and case evaluation.