Last night, a pedestrian was killed after he was hit by an SUV while he was crossing Florida Blvd near Wooddale Drive.
Unfortunately, the risk of deadly pedestrian car crashes in Louisiana is much higher than many other states. In January, a report from the Center for Planning Excellence revealed that our state has the third-highest pedestrian fatality rate in the nation.
You can reduce your risk of causing a pedestrian accident or being the victim of one by reviewing the common causes of accidents, statistics on at-risk populations and applying some practical safety tips.
Pedestrians Who are the Most at Risk for Injury
Some people are more at risk for being injured or killed in a pedestrian accident, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Men are more likely than women to suffer an injury in a pedestrian versus car accident
- Pedestrians between the ages of 15 and 29 are more likely than pedestrians in any other age group to suffer injuries that require treatment in an emergency room
- The pedestrian death rate increases with age, meaning that elderly pedestrians have a particularly high risk
- In 2013, almost 35 percent of all pedestrians involved in fatal accidents were legally drunk
- One in five people who die in pedestrian accidents are children 14 years old or younger
What Causes Pedestrian Accidents?
Unfortunately, a lot of pedestrian accidents are caused by driver error and could have been prevented. Common driver errors that lead to pedestrian crashes include:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving, including talking or texting on a cellphone
- Failing to stop at stop signs
- Failing to stop at crosswalks
- Disobeying traffic laws
What Can Drivers Do to Lower the Risk of a Crash?
Drivers should always be focused on the road, no matter the situation. However, there are certain times when drivers need to pay extra attention to avoid a pedestrian accident, such as:
- Parking lots
- School zones
Other tips for drivers on avoiding pedestrian crashes include:
- Always yield to pedestrians – This includes times when pedestrians are not using a crosswalk to cross the street.
- Avoid distracted driving – This means not looking at your phone or doing other things that take your eyes, ears, mind or hands off the task of driving, such as changing your music, using a GPS system or changing other settings on your dashboard.
- Drive at an appropriate speed – This means slowing down when it is raining or there is some other type of inclement weather.
- Check your mirrors often when backing up – Whenever you are backing out of a parking spot, look left and right and proceed slowly. Keep checking your mirrors and looking behind you to make sure a pedestrian is not approaching or nearby.
- Watch for pedestrians when turning – This is particularly important when making a right turn at a green light, because there might be people crossing the street.
- Do not stop in the middle of a crosswalk – This forces pedestrians to walk around your car, which puts them at increased risk of an accident.
What Can Pedestrians do to Stay Safe?
There are a lot of things that pedestrians can do to make themselves more visible to drivers and keep themselves out of harm's way, including:
- Using sidewalks whenever they are available
- Crossing the street only at intersections and marked crosswalks
- If you are walking on a road without a sidewalk or crosswalk, make sure you are facing traffic
- Wear bright or reflective clothing, particularly at night, to make yourself more visible to drivers
- Never cross the street when the crosswalk signal says "Do Not Walk"
- Never run into the street
- Look both ways when crossing the street
- Never assume that a car is traveling slowly enough for you to cross in front of it without a collision
- Watch traffic as you cross the street
- Avoid walking alone if you are drunk or have been drinking
- Try to make eye contact with drivers and look for some type of acknowledgement that they see you
- If you are with your children, hold their hands when crossing the street
If you were seriously injured or had a loved one die in a pedestrian crash, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit with the help of an auto accident lawyer.
The skilled Baton Rouge personal injury attorneys at Simien & Simien can guide you through the legal process and build a strong case that gives you a good chance of recovering compensation for damages.