Senior citizens, children most at risk for being in pedestrian accidents

This summer, more people can be at risk of being hurt in a pedestrian accident due to an increase in traffic, drunk driving and more people walking.

Walking is increasing throughout the U.S. as both a method of transportation and a form of exercise. Millions of people are discovering the health and environmental benefits of walking instead of driving. This summer, Connecticut residents can expect to see an increased number of people walking on city and country roadways, as children are out of school and the weather overall is nice enough to be outside.

While the benefits of walking are numerous, there is also a great risk to those who walk near traffic. According to the latest numbers by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 4,400 pedestrians were killed and 69,000 were injured in 2011. Smart Growth America says that pedestrian traffic deaths are at a 5-year high across the country, making up almost 15 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2012.

Risk remains high despite efforts to make roads safer for pedestrians

Many American communities are attempting to make roadways safer and more inviting for those walking along them, including safer intersections, innovative bridges and paths and increased awareness programs. However, there are still many areas where the roads haven't been developed well enough to be safe for pedestrians. In many rural areas throughout Connecticut, for example, high speeds and low visibility contribute to a higher accident risk for pedestrians.

Certain groups are also more at risk of being injured or killed while walking, say the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This particularly includes children and senior citizens. Tragically, this was true for a 71-year-old woman who was crossing a street in Middletown in late June. NBC Connecticut reported that a 76-year-old driver struck the woman, who later died of her injuries.

There are some areas in which pedestrians can be more at risk of being hit than at other times. These include the following:

  • Crossing at an intersection, even inside marked crosswalks.
  • Walking near driveways or in parking lots.
  • Being outside in poor weather, low light or heavy traffic conditions.

Alcohol-impaired drivers can also, of course, increase the chances of a pedestrian being hit. Weekends and times around the summer holidays are prime times for pedestrians and others to encounter people who are driving under the influence.

Getting help from an attorney

People who plan to walk can take several steps to stay safe, such as increasing their visibility with lights or reflective clothing, and walking facing traffic. However, safety measures are not guaranteed to protect everyone. Anyone walking near roadways can be hit at any time, despite taking the appropriate safety measures. If you've been hurt in a pedestrian accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away to discuss your rights.

Keywords: pedestrian, accident, injury